Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Whirlwind Yosemite Trip: Part 1

Today, I will continue with the epic saga of "Relive my whole life in two months." This time I found myself in Yosemite for a whirlwind trip that lasted 37 hours. The players were Mum, Jason, Connor, and I. With everyone picked up, we were on the road by 9AM. An hour and a bit later, we stopped at Casa de Fruta, which my father once infamously pronounced as, "Caser de Fruter." To which Mum said, "There are no 'Rs' in Casa de Fruta." Dad responded, "I can't help if they are silent." And we all replied, "And nonexistent."
Connor noted that just about every spot was a "Casa de" something. It was at this point that I introduced the boys to the jumping shot.

We only live about 4ish hours from Yosemite, so it didn't take too long to get to the Mariposa Grove. Despite it being past Labor Day, and supposedly the "off season" the parking lot was so full that we had to park elsewhere and use the shuttle instead. But once all that was sorted, we did a little hike. The boys joined me for a second jumping shot in front of the Grizzly Giant.

We continued on with the hike, looking for the Telescop Tree, a tree where the center had burned out but still was living. It took a bit longer than we anticipated, and just about every burn tree we found we looked up into to see if we could see the sky. Pro Tip, the tree has a sign in front of it. We did eventually locate it. Mum thought that we should take a "selfie". I still think it's funny every time Mum says that word.

After we got back to the car, we drove to Tunnel View. I love that we reached it right around sunset. It is certainly my favorite time of the day to see the view. And as always, we did the obligatory jumping shot.

Connor was the only one of us to have not seen Yosemite yet. We were staying in Curry Village. When he learned that Curry Village was in the valley, his eyes lit up. Something about, "We get to stay down there?!" Yes.... yes we do.

By the time we checked in, it was around 8PM. Most of the restaurants were closed. The one that was left open (pizza) was going to be open until 10PM, so we all opted to put our bags in the tents and take showers. Another Pro Tip from me to you: even if you get back into the same clothes you were wearing, if you wear fresh socks, you will feel better. Jason in particular felt that I was right.
We ate a massive amount of pizza. (I might have "won" at 5.5 slices.) And afterwards we played Nertz. After finding that three of us had a two of clubs and only he had the ace, Connor invented a clever new move. He threw the two into the air, put out his ace and the two landed on top. I didn't even realize what had happened. But there was a two on the ace and it wasn't mine. We pronounced the move legal because it was kind of amazing.

Mum headed to bed and the boys and I did a little stargazing. I spotted the only shooting star of the night before we all turned in. In the morning we would be continuing on with the second half of our whirlwind trip.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fern Canyon

Mum told me the other day, "It's like you are trying to relive your entire life in two months." She is kind of right. I've travelled all over in the last two weeks and spent almost no time on the computer and no time knitting. I'm sure there will be time to catch up, but the time is not right now. I will try to fill you all in on my recent exploits though.
After seeing my Oma, Mum and I drove to Fern Canyon to do a sock photo shoot. I've been to Fern Canyon several times and I think summer is probably the best time of year to see it.

Looking up the wall of the canyon, it is just so stunning to see all the ferns lined up. I feel like I'm living through the Jurassic Period.

Mum was an excellent model as usual. Some people walked up to us an asked if we wanted our picture together. I had to explain that I design knits and that I was taking pictures of socks on purpose. We saw them later on and they cheekily offered to model.

When we saw the water running down the side of the canyon, Mum said that it reminded her of Milford Sound in New Zealand. I hope I get a chance to see it when I'm there later on this month.

As usual, I got my jumping photo. These orange shoes have seen their fair share of adventure. I think they brighten up the photo quite well.

As we finished hiking the trail loop, Mum and I noticed that a bunch of plants had been eaten. At first I thought that the banana slugs had either grown to great proportions or that there was an army of them. Then we realized that the Roosevelt Elk that live in the area must of climbed into the canyon and had a feast.

Fern Canyon is quite a ways away from home, but Mum and I decided that we were going to power though and got home around midnight. We actually drove over the road where the Napa earthquake was only hours before it happened. I've decided that my Mum's superpower name should be "Natural Disaster" because weird events seem to follow her.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crater Lake

I have been all over the place in the last two weeks and it doesn't look like it will let up any time soon. I was in Davis saying goodbye to friends and helping one pack up her house for moving day. Next week I'll be volunteering my time at a youth camp. But in between I went up to Oregon to visit my Oma. She's not been well, so I wanted to be sure to say goodbye before leaving for New Zealand. We had good, long visits. 
One of the days we were up there, we went out to Crater Lake. On the way we stopped by a natural bridge. The Rogue River briefly disappears as it shoots through a lava tube! It's pretty neat to see, but hard to capture in a photo. Below you can see the river entering the lava tube.

As we continued our way to Crater Lake we stopped again to see the Rogue Gorge, which is where the canyon narrows and water rushes by at a tremendous speed.

The power of the water is amazing to watch. This log had gotten jammed near the entrance to the gorge and water was spraying up into the air as it pressed into the wood.

After doing the two little hikes, we stopped at the lodge at Crater Lake for lunch. Afterwards, my aunt told us to go enjoy the view while she paid the bill. A fellow knitter stopped me and asked about my Pente sweater. (Id' finished weaving in the ends that morning, but hadn't blocked it yet.) It's always a good day when you get to talk about knitting.

I made sure to get my jumping photo in. Once again, I remembered to tuck my shirt in first.

It was cool and crisp up there, but that made it better sweater weather. Just before we left, Mum wanted to do a selfie. (Mum is not the most tech-literate, so I can't help but giggle when she says something like "selfie") She did a pretty good job getting us all in the frame. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm Going On An Adventure

I have a bit of an announcement. At the end of September, I will be moving to New Zealand.

I don't know for how long or what job I will eventually have. But I do know it is going to be quite an adventure!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Scooter's Birthday Song

Hey Scooter, do you know what today is? It's your 12th birthday.

Although, with the way you live your life, it's like every day is your birthday.

It's been a good year. We've learned and grown together.

We've also caught up on many, many naps.

I'm so happy that we are still best friends. I hope there are still many years to come.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yarn Chicken

I wish I could show off a finished sweater. Alas, with three stripes left to go, I've made the classic rookie mistake and run out of yarn. (Note: It doesn't matter how long you've been knitting, sometime when you play yarn chicken, crash and burn.) 

When I bought the yarn I hadn't planned to make any modifications. But when knitting, I thought I'd extend the sleeves to full length rather than three quarter.

Thanks to ravelry, I was able to get another skein out of someone's destash. It isn't the same dye lot, but I've noticed that Brooklyn Tweed does a pretty good job blending their yarns. Like Cascade, it seems to be pretty consistent between skeins.

Hopefully I'll be done with this sweater (Pente) soon!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tentacles At Monterey

The last time I was at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, there was a seahorse exhibit. Well, in April it became a Tentacles exhibit, which included squid, octopi, cuttlefish, and nautili. I've been wanting to see it for months. This past weekend a whole group of us piled into a car and headed out to Monterey. The first stop was to pick up lunch, then head out to the beach to eat. (I loaned my camera to Jay to play with, so some of the pictures were taken by him, including this beach one. Extra points if you can spot me.)
Photo credit to Jay

After lunch we headed out to the aquarium. In this exhibit, the fish (mackerel I think) always are swimming in a circle. Except on this day some of them got real confused. It was interesting to watch a bunch of fish swim at and away from each other. Eventually the head of the pack sorted things out and everyone went back to swimming in a circle.

After seeing an exhibit or two, we finally reached the Tentacles exhibit. (And I took my camera back for a bit) This guy was eating a fish. The fish head was sticking out past his tentacles.

After the squid came the octopi. I wasn't able to get very good pictures of them. They all seemed to know that they were in tanks and didn't want to be there. I'm going to guess that the octopi were the smartest of the tentacles bunch. After the octopi came the nautili. It was fun watching them swim about using their tube structure. The ones that were resting seemed to be using their tube as a suction cup. This guy was definitely sticking to the glass.

I noticed that the cuttlefish had the same tube structure hiding under their tentacles as the nautili. They seemed to just be nautili without shells. Also, these guys have the most interesting eyelids. It was strange watching them blink.

After the tentacles exhibit we had a look at the jellyfish one. There is 1960's style music playing throughout. Jason said that there ought to be a rule that in order to see the exhibit, you had to wave your arms around kind of like a jellyfish. There were games in that exhibit as well. After three shorter children left, three bigger children took over.
Jason, Elaine, and Connor: The big kids

One of the displayed jellyfish were the upside down jellies. We all thought that there were the least intelligent of the jellyfish world. They worked pretty hard to stay upside down. Everyone but Connor had been to this aquarium and I thought he might get the biggest kick out of these guys. Little did we know that he's seen them up close and personal. I'm pleased to say that I've never gotten stung by one of these guys and now I know not to go to the Florida Keys and walk around in the water if I want it to stay that way.
Photo credit to Jay

As we left, I asked Jay to take one last photo. We had seen these blow up tentacles coming in and I knew I needed a picture with me and my tentacle arms. As Jay lined up the shot, I said, "I need someone to fear me!"
 Fear my wrath, Jason!

The evening ended with a meal at Bubba Gump's where the waiter stumped us with Forrest Gump trivia and I nearly stumped him with a question. All in all, it was a great day.
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