Sunday, February 16, 2020

Acanthus Stitch-a-Long, part 3

Hi everyone! I'll cut to the chase here. I didn't get as much done this time as I wish I had. But here's where I was last time:

And here's where I am this time:

One of the challenges I had was looking at the different greens in the gray-green leaves. There are three more shades of pale green in this part:

Even in yarn it's not super easy to tell how many colors there are!

I had hoped to get both the gray-green leaves and the browny-green leaves done, and haven't quite finished filling in the second gray-green leaf. Again, it's difficult to see progress from the front of this brightly colored canvas, so here's the back from the last check-in:

And here's the back now:

I'll actually be away for one of the three weeks before our next check in, but I really REALLY hope to finish the pair of browny-green leaves and roll the canvas for real.

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long have undoubtedly been more productive than I have this term, so check out everyone's blogs to see what they're all up to.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, CindyHeidi, Jackie, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary MargaretRenee, Carmela, Jocelyn, SharonDaisy, AnneConnieAJ, and welcome back to Jenny.

See you on March 8th for our next check-in!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

ScrapHappy Afghan part 2

Hi everyone! It's time for ScrapHappy Day!

It's been really satisfying to work on this project and I'm really happy to announce that I've made it through one color pass!

Here's where I was last time:

And here's where I am now:

I'm also thrilled that I actually finished up one of the colors! One down, 14 to go...

Here's an odd thing -- I might be running low on the black yarn that I am using as the "lead" between the greys. I wonder if I'll have to buy more yarn to finish this scrap piece?!?!? I think that's okay. There might even be some deep down in the stash, and I promise to look there first.

I have decided, however, that any leftover yarn will be donated and out of my house. Of course, that's a loooong way from now.

ScrapHappy Day is organized by Kate and Gun, so if you're interested in participating please see their blogs. And my fellow ScrapHappy Stitchers are super creative, visit their blogs to see how they're using up some of their scraps.

Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline, and Sue L.

Our next check in is on March 15; I hope to be halfway through another color pass by then!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Travel Tuesday : Karnak (the Magnificent)

Karnak village -- and the temple -- is just up the road from the Sofitel Karnak. One morning we got up at 5:30, and were out the door before 6 to go to Karnak Temple.

Perfect timing. Other than the fact that the guards made us do a big loop past an empty set of stores to get to the ticket booth (rather than walking 100 feet past the guards directly to the booth), it was perfect. Hardly any people, no one trying to be our guide, lovely pink sunrise. Glorious.

We wandered around for a couple of hours -- the hypostyle hall was amazing -- so many pillars!

It's all a bit overwhelming -- I keep feeling like I'm in a movie set, which is ridiculous, but... Really liked Hatchepsut's obelisks, the "botanical garden" reliefs, the massive pylon gates.

One enterprising guard had moved the "area closed - no entry" sign but pulled the metal gates across the opening. When we got close, he noisily moved the gates and kept telling us it was okay. But we didn't want the hassle. Around 8:30 we walked back to the hotel, where we had breakfast and then hung out by the pool.

Me with Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess ... who has a feast day in some traditions on December 31. #twinning

In the early evening we took the shuttle -- getting dropped off at Karnak and then feeling silly because it was so close -- but as Wil said, it will have given the package tourists something to talk about.

We had dinner at Nefertari again, because the owner and the food were both lovely. We met the owner on our first visit, a kind man who had studied in Walthamstow and had a shop in Bristol. Wil's tummy had been bothering him again, so we asked if he could just have some rice and steamed veg -- simple. I had some mezze: babaganoush, tabbouleh, and falafel. When it came it was perfect -- lovely fresh, clean food. Very nice -- best falafel ever.

I definitely had the better dinner, but it's what Wil needed...
Then walked from there to Karnak temple, where we bought the Very Expensive tickets to the Sound & Light show. 100 LE!

It was very different than the one at Giza. In this one you walked from place to place in the temple and learned different things along the way.

Kinda cool to walk around with the temple lit up like that.

It ended in the seats overlooking the sacred lake, which was a bit of an anticlimax. Still, nice. And very different from the one at the pyramids.

Then home, where we stayed up late, sitting outside and finishing the bourbon.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Elwha Bridge 5K race report

Last year I heard about Run the Peninsula -- 5 races of varying distance over the course of the year, all on the Olympic Peninsula. A couple of the races are only 5K/10K, which seems like a long way to go to run a short distance. But, umm, then I saw this medal set:

Yep, there are five unique medals that connect magnetically to show the mountain range. WAAAAANT.

So I signed us up for all five races (hey, it meant we got a discount!) and decided to use it as the backbone of our getting back to running. And I do need a little backbone... Also, I figured this would give us 5 little weekend trips away, which is always fun.

Sunday was the first race of the series, the Elwha Bridge 5K/10K, and it was more challenging than it should have been.

Our first challenge was getting there. It was a very dark and stormy night. We got on the 6:15 ferry (yay!) but then discovered that the Hood Canal Bridge was closed (technically open, so traffic couldn't cross it...) "until weather conditions improve". It had already been shut for a few hours, and with the wind howling, it didn't seem likely it would open very soon. Should we pull over and wait and hope? Or add 2 hours to our scheduled drive by driving the long way around?

standard route, across the Hood Canal Bridge

going around, when the bridge is shut
We decided to just drive around. After all, the bridge could stay ut for several more hours, and then we would still need to start driving. So off we went.

We pulled into Port Angeles a little after 10pm, all jangly and tired. It was pouring out, still, so we made sandwiches from some groceries we'd picked up on the way, and watched the weather from the balcony.

In the morning we were thrilled to see that the weather had improved to drizzle from downpour. We headed for breakfast -- a delicious veggie scramble in the coffee shop that I would slightly regret later as it was HUGE and big breakfast + running an hour later = not good.

We somehow mistimed our departure, arriving at the parking area for the shuttle a little later than expected, and having to go to the first overflow parking area. Let me say this: this race was incredibly well organized. They had flaggers at the parking areas so it was easy to get in and get parked. We joined a line for the shuttle, but sadly it filled up before we could get on. (We were not the only people to be tardy!)

But we got on the next one, and arrived at the starting area about 10 minutes late. We got our bibs -- they also used the AWESOME instant-print race bib technology I'd only seen once before. Of course, there were only a handful of us hustling to the start, so lines weren't really an issue...

Then we picked up our race swag -- a very handsome reversible beanie, designed by a local artist. That's another great thing about this race series: rather than multiple race shirts, you get something different at each race. (Spoiler alert: at the next race we get GLOVES...)

We pinned on our bibs (must remember to bring my race belt next time!) and took a picture of the start because the area looked so nice: the start was on the pedestrian crossing of the Elwha River, which is suspended beneath a road bridge. It's pretty cool -- and clever, because people were somewhat sheltered from the rain!

Then we set off, 16 minutes or so after the gun.

The run was an out and back along a paved stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail, and truly lovely. Nice and even, with uphills and downhills so gentle that I couldn't tell you whether we were ascending or descending. We saw a handful of Very Fast Folk come running the other direction, gradually becoming a lot of MidPackers the closer we got to the turnaround.

By the time we were halfway back to the start, we were being passed by the faster 10K runners. But that's fine -- we weren't exactly trying to BQ or anything. And it was a nice, gentle run/walk. More walking than running, but we had decided to wear our big gore-tex jackets as we didn't want to get soaked.

We passed a few people, and hustled up the little ramp to the finish. Done.

Here's the one sad thing -- so minor, but it's the only tiny blemish on an otherwise excellent race.

We didn't get a chip time for the start. So our times were recorded as 57:19, placing us at 372nd and 373rd out of 387. That smarts a bit! I subtracted a conservative 16 minutes off our time, however, which moved us well up the rankings. With apologies for my vanity (and, yes, I know that other runners were also late, but few were as late as we were!), with a time of 41:19 I would be:

235/387 overall, 149/272 women; and 17/48 women 50/59. Ahhh.

Not needing refreshments (and clearly not being in the running for an award!), we headed up the hill and joined the line for the shuttles back to the parking areas.

Back in town we did some shopping, some bar hopping, and some relaxing in the room... before going to Bella Italia for a very rich, very nice dinner. We don't often go out for dinner as our entertainment anymore, so that was a treat.

Sunday morning another big breakfast (thank you, Red Lion!) and then we went for a walk on Ediz Hook, or, as the locals call it, The Spit. Favorite thing: this plaque honoring Bert Thomas, the first person to swim the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

 Apparently as of 2016 only 8 people have done this!

Then an uneventful drive home and a relaxing afternoon.

But back to the race itself.

The organization was top notch -- good communication, good website, great volunteers. Parking was easy, shuttles were comfortable, course was both pretty and well marked, and water station was well stocked. Bib pickup was efficient. Swag was nice and useful.

Again, the only ding against them was that we didn't get chip times, but that's okay. I would wholeheartedly recommend this race to anyone, and look forward to the next installment: the Railroad Bridge 10K in Sequim.