A new posting strategy

June 29, 2007

I seem to be stuck in a phase of only being able to blog about knitting when things are finally finished. Continuing in that vein, I'm ready to post the back of Isabella! But, for general interest, and the fun of showing off pretty new things, I've decided to start posting progress pictures accompanied by our wedding gifts. So here's Isabella's wicked curl being tamed by the gorgeous wood salad bowl and servers (thanks, Andi!).

I'd started Isabella before the wedding because I needed stockinette for all the plane rides, and the pattern called for a perfect amount of yarn to match the sale yarn I bought in New Hampshire last summer. Add the green color to the leaves on the front placket, and it all seemed meant to be. :-) Fun.

It's taken a while to get this far, partly from being put down so often, and partly because the gauge is teeny tiny: 7 stitches and 9 rows per inch. I'm about 40% through the yarn, and so it's still a bit of a gamble whether there'll be enough to finish the front, picot trim, and seams. We'll see! I'm optimistic.

I cast on last night for the front while watching a movie (a little late to the game, we've just signed up for Netflix. Good fun!), and so here's the first eight rows of the front, with one of the new fish glasses.

And a lemon peel knot? Happy Friday afternoon cocktail hour!

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I love the new lighthouse stamps

June 27, 2007

Yay!! I finally mailed the last of the backlog of wedding thank you notes! So many people brought cards to the wedding (which was wonderful -- so easy to fly home with). The "thank you"s have been on my list since we got back, and I've been making progress a group at a time. This is the final batch. :-)

I feel so light and free. :-)

It's 24 days after the wedding -- I'm suspended between some lingering guilt that they took so long, and pride that I'm now caught up.


9:37 pm, June 22, and assorted reverie

June 23, 2007

I didn't think to take a photo on the solstice, but I do want to commemorate the loooonnng Seattle afternoons of June. It doesn't start to hit twilight until a bit after 8:30, the sun sets a while after nine, and at 9:37 on one of the two second-longest days of the year, the light looks like this:

Seattle at this time of year is a gift. The weather is inconsistently and unpredictably gorgeous (one day, all of the mountains are out and it's 78, and then it'll reverse course and we'll have a few days of looming grey and mid-sixties). The surprise of the weather is happy to me -- most seasons out here are so monochromatic. The plants thrive and it's fun to see the blackberries and random wildflowers blooming on the highway. The light lasts forever. Kevin and I have taken to sleeping in masks (thank you, JetBlue) so that we can leave the blinds and windows open but don't have to wake up at five with the sun. Nights are still cool, which makes comforters and open windows wonderful. (We've had the heat off for about two months.) Everyone's grilling, as you walk around the neighbourhood in the evening, and it's a pleasure to spend forty minutes tinkering and watering out on the deck when you get home from work.

And while I know that there's a reality check in November through March, this time of year is just so full of promise, and things to do, and happiness.

Not to mention Microsoft intern memories. Kevin and I met more or less today, five years ago, camping in the Olympic National park with, as I described it on my first blog (now just a memory), "15 kids, 5 cars, 4 tents, and way too much gear".

I actually brought my boyfriend of the moment, and the fact that Kevin and I were next to each other in that photo was coincidence. We didn't know each other a bit -- some of my intern friends were friends with some of his intern friends. After the trip, the whole gang of us started hanging out, for movie nights, dinners, and a zillion activities around Washington. We all had cameras, and there were a million photos of that summer. Only looking back later did I realize that seeing this photo of Kevin was part of the reason we started dating.

Why did it matter? Who knows? It just did. Blond, cool, and way too smart for his own good. And then he drove me to AND from the airport for my parents' anniversary, and then he wooed me, and now we are where we are today. :-)

To close, here's a five-years-old tomorrow photo of the view on the way up the mountain to Hurricane Ridge. I haven't been back to the Olympics since that summer. Here's hoping this is the year.


Two Tips from the Bride

June 21, 2007

I discovered one of the best things ever last weekend, when I found that most packaging stores (such as UPS, or "the brown store" as the quasi-helpful woman in Crossroads told me) reuse packing peanuts. This is a major, major bonus, and frees me from a substantial amount of environmental guilt.

I love our registry, and I love the gifts, but so far we've managed to accumulate eight garbage bags worth of packing peanuts. Crate and Barrell uses thin sheets of foam and honeycombed paper to wrap things (I'm a fan), and those puffed up plastic pouches (which can be recycled at the grocery store), but our other registry places are major fans of styrofoam. Being able to regather and recycle it makes me exceptionally happy.

Here are two bags, ready to hand off, in my car:

So, number one tip from the bride: recycle packing peanuts at shipping stores. :-)

A bonus tip, in case your car is as dirty as mine, and you live in a place like Kirkland where you shouldn't use soap to wash cars because it drains to a water source: Our city's water guy, via email, confirmed that I could use vinegar to wash my car, instead of soap, without detrimental effects to the lake. I've done it twice now, to great effect (I diluted about 2/3 with water). It works better when you dry as you clean, instead of air drying, but the results are impressive regardless. Clearly after all of the June pollen, I need another round, but it's nice to have an option other than one of the random carwashes, which I just don't trust.


The Garden Grows

June 20, 2007

I can't tell you how pleased I am to actually have a garden this year, instead of just plants:

Hopefully next year it will be a *real* garden, but just flowers, herbs and vegetables, regardless of location, is exciting. :-)

The strawberries are the current excitement: we've had four already, and there a a bunch ripening.

When we have a house, we'll have a patch, not only four plants. Though, that said, four plants are surprisingly plentiful.
The tomatoes are blooming, which seems like a good sign. I read today about watering them with milk -- worth a shot?? The beans continue to spread, grow and bloom, and I've started seeing baby beans! Very exciting.


Tank: 1 Susan: 0

June 19, 2007

I've long learned not to put my hand in the tank after the lights go out, but every now and then I deal with things in the "twilight" (blue lights on, as in "daylight", but white lights off) and get totally rebuked for it.

Here's my effort to right coral that was tumbled by too many hermit crabs:

A few seconds, 7 stings from some tank-dwelling creature (my bets are on the web-spinning snails), and it's all benadryl and ice. Nice. Thanks, fishtank.


Not natural

June 18, 2007

We have enough friends with organic mindsets that read the blog that I thought I should post the largest strawberry I've ever seen, so that we can all tsk over it.

With syrup, on waffles, not bad. But it's totally absurd how large the strawberries in grocery stores are. Can't wait until the deck dudes are ripe!


We're back!

June 15, 2007


I've had about a zillion emails in the last day (singular) telling me that we should be back and asking where all of the photos were. :-) Yee!

We ARE back, the wedding WAS happy and perfect, and the honeymoon WAS idyllic. So, yay. :-) I've back tracked back and filled in much of the last three weeks, and then I'll continue to write as we upload photos and think of new things to say. :-)

I'm so happy to be back in Seattle. Kevin went to the grocery store today, and the climes are getting summery, and it's just lovely. I love being here. Can't wait to post more. Yay!

added on Saturday the 16th:
P.S. I've gotten a swarm of emails from people who think my blog is broken because they keep getting batches of posts at a time in their RSS feeder.

It's not broken, I'm just deficient. :-) So many people post every day, and spoil the rest of us. I seem to save up posts over many days, and then post in batches. (It reminds me of when we had to write journals for whatever subject in high school. I'd procrastinate and procrastinate, and then spend an entire weekend writing a quarter's worth the day before they were due.) Some things don't change. Sorry that I don't seem to get with the program, but I'm not in the mood to write every day (especially after writing all day at work), and so this seems to work better. :-)

To those who DO post daily, thank you! I click and read through -- it's my lunchtime treat.


Glimmers of Hawaii

June 07, 2007

Woohoo! And, we're here! They gave us both leis (Me: orchids; Kevin: nuts) when we arrived. Here's Kevin in his:

For the first five days of the honeymoon, we stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea on Maui. It was the first resort experience for both of us. Mad fun, despite the price. The sun rises a bit before six, and sets slightly after seven, so we actually kept 7 am - 8 pm hours for most of the trip. This was a major change for me, but it kept seeming like everything we wanted to do happened early in the day. We did yoga overlooking the bay on the first day, and then snorkeled all of the remaining mornings. The fish were amazing. So much bigger than we expect given our aquarium-trade view of things, and watching the fish school was incredible. We saw three days' worth of green turtles, which was a delight. They are so purposeful and elegant. Several approached us, which verged on the creepy to me -- they're big! I was also deeply amused by their behaviour at the surface. They come up for a few minutes -- Kevin's theory was to re-oxygenate. While they're up, they hang at the surface, with their heads down and looking around. It reminded me so much of our posture while snorkeling that it was hard to believe that they weren't imitating/mocking us. :-) ("Kick, kick, look, look.... nah! The view's better down there.") When they dove down, which many people have compared to flying, they were so stately until they reached a rock or the sand. Those shells and flippers really aren't so manuverable. But it was interesting to see a *turtle*, of all things, being so expressive. The first one we saw was being hounded by other ignorant/enthusiastic snorkelers (which is a. illegal and b. rude and terrible). He swam to the two of us to surface (we kicked back away -- a large thing to be coming right at you!) and then marveled at him as he continued to regard us, then flapped away along the reef. The face was amazing. On the third day, several turtles with many more options, and no antagonism from roudy humans, continued to approach us as they surfaced. Back on the beach, someone said that they'd been watching a turtle approach them, just stayed put, and the turtle came and gave a little head-butt to their mask before finding better things to do... (is anyone else reminded, yet again, of Finding Nemo?)

On our second snorkeling day, we saw three large (25-35 ish) schools of me-sized silver fish. They weren't sharks, but I was still deeply freaked. Given how closely they schooled, I was afraid that they would be the feeder fish for something truly enormous. Kevin said that their mouths weren't big enough for harm, but I felt like their fins and mere presence was sinister. Back on shore, assorted guides suggested that they might be jacks (too round), or ava/bonefish (too small). Just from pictures, I'm wondering if they might be tarpon? I'll continue to investigate...

And since this is a photo-lite post, here's a picture of me knitting out on a lanai during sunset on the Big Island. Yay, vacation. :-)


Flight to Hawaii

June 06, 2007

First of all, we have wedding rings!!!

How cool, right? :-)

Second, I finally, finally finished the seams and thumbs for Fetching during the first hour or two of the flight.

Yarn: Cotton Glace from Rowan, 1 ball
Color: #747 (dusty pink)
Needles: #6

Alterations: I worked 22 (instead of 18) rounds in the 4X1 rib, and then in the final line of instructions before the Picot bindoff, I worked 10 (not 4) rounds in 4X1 rib.

Third, there's Kevin. He brought Dumb and Dumber for the flight. I found that not having sound for the Mockingbird scene was actually quite peaceful. (Sorry, Shar and Dave.)

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Amanda and Brian are the plant whisperers

June 05, 2007

We were gone for eleven days and came back to find the tank crystal clear and happy. Exciting enough!! Worrying about the state of the fish is the worst part of traveling.

BUT, then we opened the back door, and most of the plants had tripled in size. When I called Amanda, she blamed warm weather, but in over a month the tomatoes (back left), basil(front left) and beans (right) had barely budged, and all of a sudden, they're enormous. I credit the caretakers. :-)

Our mint and dill are also enormous...


Wedding present

June 03, 2007

One of Kevin's fraternity brothers is working on Wall Street, had an awesome year, and bought a crazy fun car. Here's Adam, Kevin, and the Porshe 911 before Kevin set out for the wedding present joyride.

Look at Kevin's face in that photo. Adam is a trusting soul. Apparently, the thing has a (capital letters) engine, plus styling, and happiness. Kevin was reduced to onomotopeia. Vroom!


Sealing the deal

We stayed in Boston, in the Jury hotel, for about a day and a half after our wedding. The hotel was gorgeous. We'd been slightly scared off by reviews of Boston police uniforms, handcuffs and parephenalia in the halls, but location and price won out and the hotel turned out to be luxurious and perfect.

Once we got me out of my dress (an undertaking), we relaxed for an hour or two, and then set out on the town in search of (specifically) hamburgers and champagne. As we grew increasingly thwarted, the list of desires grew to include pasta and fun drinks. After much wandering, we ended up at the perfect American Joe's Grill on Newbury, which not only had our pasta, burgers, champagne, drink and appetizer, but struck the champagne from the bill when we mentioned we were newlyweds. No camera, but a great dinner.

Sunday we spent with family, then watched the (ultimately disappointing) Red Sox/Yankees game.

It was fun to finally knit a bit and veg. It's been in short order recently.

I'd held on to my bouquet, and it was lovely in our (already lovely) hotel bath:

Somehow, I neglected to take a picture until right before we left, so the stephanotis are wilting. The bouquet was amazing, though (perfect shape, perfect colors, and well constructed), and the scent was beautiful. My hands shook for so much of the service that I wished the lily of the valley were less tremulous flowers. :-)

Here's a closeup of a rose!


Day of.

June 02, 2007

My vows, learned by heart:

In the name of God, I, Susan, take you, Kevin, to be my husband
To have and to hold from this day forward
for better, for worse
for richer, for poorer
in sickness and in health
to love and to cherish until we are parted by death.
This is my solemn vow.

And, when exchanging rings:
Kevin, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow,
and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honour you,
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Many people thought that we wrote our vows, since we said them without prompting. I wish I was that eloquent. Hopefully someday? It's straight from the Book of Common Prayer. And I love the rest of the service, shown here. There's so much hope and happiness in it, but also so much reality: we should comfort each other, lend strength, realize that relationships require tending, and know when to stand down. It's nice to know that our vows and the prayers weren't cliche -- I genuinely hope that we can live up to them -- they articulate what I want from my marriage better than I could have myself.

Our organist provided lots of needed guidance for the music.

As people arrived, he played the "St. Anthony Chorale" by Haydn/Brahms, "Trumpet Tune" by Purcell, "Rigaudon" by Campra, amd Pachelbel's "Canon in D".

I can't tell how happy/emotional it made me to walk up to the stairs to the church and hear the Pachelbel canon playing... It's

The wedding party (grandparents, parents, and bridesmaids) came in to the "Te Deum Processional" by Charpentier. Kevin's maternal grandmother was walked in by one of her grandchildren (Steven), his paternal grandmother was walked in by her grandson Chris (not in the wedding party, but in his marine dress uniform), my maternal grandparents walked together, and my brother (and groomsman) Dave walked my mother down the aisle.

My father and I walked to Purcell's "Trumpet Voluntary".

After the ceremony, we walked out to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" -- usually one to make me cry regardless, but the organist led in with minor chords and it just seemed right.

He concluded with Handel's Hornpipe. Or at least, I assume he did? We walked out of the church after processing up the aisle, and so I'm really not sure. :-) One of those little wedding mysteries. :-)


Locusts and "Plagues"

June 01, 2007

My aunt (and godmother), Nancy, let us invade her house for all of the pre-wedding hoopla. The company was great (my cousins are two of the most personable, intelligent, interesting people I know), the house is gorgeous, and they just redid all of their landscaping. Ooh. :-)

The whole "planning a wedding from three time zones away" seemed less challenging at the beginning, and worse as we got closer, but knowing that we'd have a home base (instead of a hotel) the week before somehow made things more mentally manageable. We even got to hold a reception for out-of-town and near-by family at their house the night before (despite an end-of-year elementary school skit night scheduled for the same hours). Many people compared Nancy and her family to saints...

And, as everyone woke up at Nancy's Friday morning (after a week of late-May heat and humidity), we found carpenter ants practically dripping from everywhere. They fell from the canister lights in the kitchen, they crawled in the bathroom, and they swarmed under every glass and coffee mug left on the counter. Yay, New England at the very beginning of summer. While I wouldn't have wished carpenter ants on anyone (especially them!), I do have to say that it was wonderful to have a concrete thing to focus all of the family-wide jitters and anxiety on. People at the pre-wedding party ate food, squished multitudes of ants, and enjoyed meeting each other. Once home from the concert, Nick and Jack appointed themselves as head exterminators, and cleared the upstairs.

They were startled, as they swept the bathroom, by the green pre-wedding face. My dad was too, and requested a picture. :-) (I couldn't smile or the mask would have cracked...)

Better green with mask than green with nerves? :-)

In other pre-wedding round up news:

We ran 2.5 miles together on Monday. Woah! We run together in Seattle (usually a mile and a half), and both of us have been exercising on our own, but that distance surprised me once we'd done it. When I was in high school, I used to run according to the field hockey training schedule, which (if I remember?) capped out at 2.4 miles. Running more now than I did in high school, when I had my swimming physique, makes me proud. Nice!

So many people, books and websites brokering wedding advice made a point of saying that brides-to-be need to eat in the days before the wedding. I scoffed. What dimwit needs to learn/remember to eat?! And yet, the entire prewedding week was a stretch of time-zone- and situation-enhanced nerves and distractions. I barely ate, barely noticed, and lost five pounds in six days (better than mono!!). Crazy. Luckily (?), the honeymoon took care of it. :-)

I finished my veil on Thursday. I'd based in on a design we saw in a store... not too poofy on top, double layered, scalloped edges, and crystals outlining the edge and scattered. When I get my act together, I'll post directions and a summary. :-) I used superglue to attach the crystal beads to the tulle -- disaster. My cousin Jack was impressed at how thoroughly I managed to glue the beads to my fingers instead of to the veil. :-)

Much effort went to learning the vows. we chose (after prompting in no uncertain terms from our minister) to learn them by heart. I practiced mine in the car with my mom, sister, mother-in-law-to-be and sister-in-law-to-be. No dry eyes. A good audience for inuring yourself.

Our organist played samples of songs so that we could choose a program. This was a treat. I was also so, so happy to escape the Bridal Chorus by Wagner. (My second grade self reliably chanted the lyrics "here comes the bride: fair, fat and wide", followed by the equally delightful second verse, "here comes her mother: married to her brother.")


Weddings Make Us Tired

In between one-day-pre-wedding parties on Friday, my brother Dave ordered me to a nap. Smart kid. I didn't actually fall asleep, but following the orders to just lay down for a few minutes was incredibly energizing.

A few minutes later, Kevin wandered upstairs and joined me in the sprawl, and Dave took a photo. This is about 17 hours out from the main event. :-)

(It was also nice to have a few minutes to just BE together. Despite almost three years of living together, we both wanted to retreat to our separate quarters the evening before the ceremony. As we got to the day, we both second-guessed that decision. It ended up being totally a good one, but I needed those minutes to gather strength from him. It always amazes me how comforted and bolstered I am from being around Kevin. He's so steady.)