crochet:: the girlfriend afghan

It started in October-ish…maybe.  I’m not sure when really, but Alex’s girlfriend Hannah asked me this past fall to make her an afghan.  She wanted sharp chevrons, all greys & blues & white, in totally random order, and about ‘this big’ gestures completed the order.  I showed her a varied lot with every color of blue & grey that I had in the magical craft closet.  Then I sent her off packing to the yarn store with her chosen scrap samples to pick up the loot necessary to approximately get her ‘this big’ blankie done.  Of course my ball-park guess was wrong and we made 2 more trips for yarn…that’s my S.O.P. ~ guessing is not my forte.

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I finally finished 3+ months later…fast afghans are not my forte either apparently.

The basics on the “Girlfriend Afghan”

 “H” hook

Red Hart SS in white, grey heather, charcoal, and light blue

 Vanna’s Choice in aqua

Chain 229

Dc 3 tog, dc 10, 5 dc, dc 10, dc 5 tog across to end, dc 3 tog, ch 2 turn

17 color stripes of 4 rows, with 2 rows of white in between each

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Also, don’t mess with Hannah. Alex was given the evil eye for the minor infraction of not wanting his picture taken.

crochet:: stuff on & off the hooks

I’m usually pretty good about finishing what I start and keeping WiPs to a minimum.  Not so much right now. I seem to have let things get out of control through the holidays, and my WiP basket overfloweth…

It’s due in part to an afghan. Yeah, let’s blame it on that.  Alex’s girlfriend requested a chevron blanket and picked some great colors.

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In the middle of working on the afghan, sometimes my yarny ADD kicks in and I have Oh squirrel moments.  That results in things like a Minecraft hat for my nephew in Tunisian, some Christmas ornaments, American Girl doll clothes for my niece, a BB-8 hat to commemorate the opening of the new Star Wars movie.

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…and those are just the projects I actually finished…I have 4 more in my WiP basket that are not fit to show you yet…and a list of 40+ items that I really want to do next…but I really need to finish this afghan first!!!

photography:: wrapping up my trip to Bermuda

While it was not my intent to drag on the Bermuda posts for 2 months, that is exactly what I have done…

If you need to get caught up, here are the other posts:

http://yarnchick.com/2015/11/25/photography-a-little-island-time/

http://yarnchick.com/2015/12/08/photography-more-island-time/

http://yarnchick.com/2015/12/10/photography-day-two/

http://yarnchick.com/2016/01/05/photography-day-two-part-two/

When my Mom does something, she has lots of follow-through.  She not only grew them, but hand delivered them on 3 occasions back to Bermuda.  The baby plantlets were carefully placed back in their natural habitat over the past 5 years.  It takes a little hike into the woods, then some climbing, and then even more creative cave navigation to get to the site.  But we did it & it was great to see some of them thriving!  Of course, not all the previously reintroduced plants survived, but more are making it to adulthood than ever before.

This is where the adventure began…quite a fairly-tale entrance to the woods if you ask me. 




The “FAB FIVE OF FERNS”


We went back later to work a little in the lab, and then all of our work duties were complete. So we spent the next 2 days taking in the sights and being tourists.
  
  

Not surprisingly, my favorite part of the tourist portion of our trip was spent hiking and photographing at Horseshoe Bay.  Lots of cool stuff to explore, very few people because it was the off-season, and ocean spray photo-ops galore.  


  
  

 Thanks for stopping by to share my journey!

photography:: day two, part two

Not that my last post explained it all or that this post will either, but I feel the need to expand a bit and show you more of Nonsuch Island before we move on to the fern reintroduction site.  Since it is so rare that the average tourist gets to see this microcosm of how Bermuda is supposed to be without human intervention, it only seems right to share.  Alison (our friend from the Ministry of the Environment) cares so deeply for her country, that she nearly had all of us tearing up when she said off the cuff that Nonsuch is how her Bermuda looked 400 years ago.  I guess you had to be in the moment there, but the pride in her voice was intense.

So without further ado, these are a few more of the sights from our hike up and down and around Nonsuch Island.

   

    
    
                                               

  

Thanks for stopping by!

photography:: day two

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Bermuda is actually a 22 mi. long island with many small islands surrounding it.  As you will notice in my photos, some are very, very tiny.  The only other island we visited in the area was Nonsuch Island.  It is a protected habitat with only a few regular conservationist employees and it requires a permit to visit.  Since we were there for the purpose of conservation, we were granted a permit and were given a fantastic tour by Jeremy, the scientist who has devoted his entire adult life to saving 1 species of bird, the Cahow.  They look much like a small version of albatross, and when he began working on Nonsuch there were only 2 mating pairs.  Each couple spends about 3 years digging an underground nest in the side of the cliff.  Not only do they dig back into the cliff, but then they carve out an escape tunnel straight up to the surface as well.  Crafty little things, aren’t they?  Once they have survived 3 or so years of making the perfect nest, then they finally take the plunge and decide to have a baby.  So yeah, they were nearly extinct.  There are now at least 141 mating pairs on Nonsuch!

Hurray for bird-sex!

So, in the following shots you will see my trek to Nonsuch starting at the dock on the main island, the boat ride, the visitor’s learning center, and Jeremy’s domain from buildings to birds.  This was my absolute favorite day of my trip and I took hundreds of photos during the 5-ish hour excursion.  I hope you enjoy!

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~the ‘Sunshine House’, also the house Bermuda said NOPE to Oprah when she wanted to move there~

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~this is where H. Ross Perot ended up after his career in the US, not too shabby for a family compound…~

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~and this is where Silvio Berlusconi hides out~

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~fyi…that is a 400 year-old toilet.  on the edge of a cliff above the ocean. with gun turrets. and a very very large cactus growing at the base of the exit chute.  and I laughed very very hard about this~

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~Jeremy told us to ‘hang on, let me grab a bird for you’~

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~he then proceeded to measure and weigh and do sciency things~

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~private, protected, un-touched beaches = paradise~

photography:: more island time

Thanks again to all who took time to read and/or comment on my previous post.  I try to keep things on topic here at yarnchick40, but I’m a real person that just needs to write sometimes.  And it’s my blog.  And I can be fickle if I want :) And I’m really happy that you still visit even though I AM fickle occasionally. 

Talk about the perfect time to go to a tropical paradise, right?  While things were getting more blustery on the plains, I was soaking up the sun, hiking, descending into caves, and totally geeking out over a secluded conservation island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I’m not sure how much you’re into over-kill explanations,  but I learned so much stuff that I want to remember.  If all my droning on and on gets to you…just hush and look at the pretty pictures :)

In my first post about Bermuda, I stopped after being in the country for all of 4 hours…there is oh-so-much-more!

Before we could even get to our bed and breakfast style hotel, we got to meet Alison & her boss.  Alison is my Mom’s main contact with the Ministry of Magic (the Environment actually) in Bermuda.  The way we met her boss was quite unorthodox.  As we wrapped up our little stroll through Kim’s gardens we were greeted with a couple of very large and very dead piranha fish dangling from a man’s blood covered hands.  It took a moment to process that he was not in fact bleeding, but the fish were.  These are believed to be pet fish that someone dumped in a protected park’s pond.  Remember kids, spay & neuter your pets, or don’t try exotics if you won’t be their forever home.

They sure get huge, no?

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Because Bermuda is such a small bit of land in a vast ocean, when a non-native species of anything is introduced it can have a big impact.  At the Ministry, they spend the better part of their jobs working to conserve the natural species and minimize the damage done by invasive species.  Unfortunately over the years many, many invasive non-native species of plants and animals have wreaked havoc on the little island.  We learned about at least 50 different plants & animals from Alison that had changed their ecosystem.  She was a wealth of knowledge and interesting to listen to, and of course patient with all of our curiosity.  We must have sounded hilarious with all of our questions.  Or super annoying, but she was a trooper!

We finished up day one by Alison driving us back to our b-n-b (that didn’t serve breakfast???) through the narrow & twisting roads.  Once we were settled in, we got a taxi and headed to the grocery to get outrageously priced food to stock our kitchenette.  Nearly everything in the stores is imported and consequently we had some sticker shock.  A baguette that I normally pay $1 for in the States was $5, a dozen eggs ran $7 and convenience foods were marked up even more.  Needless to say, we decided to divide & conquer to purchase supplies that were healthy, easy to cook and complemented each other to cover some of our meals.  As you can imagine, with having to use a taxi every time we wanted to leave (there is literally no place to walk but in the middle of the narrow roads) and with the cost of goods, restaurant food was super pricey.  The locals eat deli-style food for lunch when out & about so we followed their lead.  It was delicious and more reasonably priced, but the cheapest you could get a lunch was about $20.  Sit-down dinners were close to $40 per person before buying alcoholic beverages.  Needless to say, I did not imbibe at those prices.  I also felt like I needed to be the protector of my mother & her assistant in a foreign country.  Listen to me trying to be Miss Badass ~ ha!

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~this was the view from our balcony, aren’t the colors divine?~

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~ this is a wall of rock and vegetation mere inches from the edge of the roadway, hence the reason taxis were a necessity~

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Up next:: my visit to Nonsuch Island where you will meet the guy who calls this his office…

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~that’s a ‘wish you were here’ postcard shot~

life:: eulogy

IMG_2924We’re going to take a moment here to mourn the loss of my Annie Annie.  She passed away of a heart attack too young, after recently retiring from the corporate life to pursue her dream and open a cake decorating business.  She was my fairy godmother and yes, I realize I didn’t call her my Aunt Ann because although she had 26 nieces and nephews, she was MY Annie Annie.  (I often stressed that to my cousins back in the day.)

On the day I was born, she gave me my most cherished childhood toy, my Buffy Puppy.  Recently, I had worked at re-creating Buffy for a pattern to share here.  I wanted other kids to be able to love a stuffed toy that much too.  That is how much it meant to me. Although it’s not done, I now feel the need to work harder at perfecting the pattern.

  That is one overly loved stuffed toy ~ poor thing has seen better days.  But hey, Buffy is 47 years old…cut her some slack.

When I was a small child, Ann moved from the country with my Grandma Amy to the big city.  She lived with my family for a time in the 70’s before getting her own apartment.  She was a godmother, a big sister, and a spare mom all in one while she lived with us.  At the time, I was still the only child so it was awesome to have another playmate to annoy at all possible moments of the day.  She was a captive audience.  And what an audience she was.  She was so present in every moment.  When I spent time with my Annie Annie she made me feel heard, cared for, and that time spent being silly was never wasted.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and never let me forget that I announced as a child I should be addressed as ‘Lisa Victoria From the First’. She would also play loud music on her record player in the basement and we would have dance parties to ‘Benny and the Jets’, or ‘My Baby Does the Hanky Panky’ which would invariably end in both of us collapsing in giggles.  She added so much to my love of silly.

In the 80’s, I had the first real and true scare in my life.  Ann had cancer.  Ann survived with courage and grace.  She lived very far away by then, but came home often and I took every opportunity I could to spend time with her finding our silly.

Fast forward to my 30’s and I got the next real and true scare of my life.  I had cancer. My Annie Annie was there for me.  There were so many questions and she was patient and helped me through all of the answers.  She coached me through surviving with courage and as much grace as I could muster.  She was a calm voice, a cheerleader, a fairy godmother.

When my father got diagnosed with cancer next, I relied on all of her advice to help coach him through too.  I tried to pass it all on, pay it all forward.  I think I helped, and I owe it to my Annie Annie for the strength be his calm voice and his cheerleader.

This spring, she finally was able to retire at 68 from her day job.  She was starting her next career.  I was so excited for her.  She had recently called me to tell me that she had finally picked a name for her new endeavor.  She was calling it Annie Annie’s Cakes.  That was so sweet, it bought tears to my eyes.

She was so special.

She will be missed.

My life has been made better by having her in it.