Friday, July 31, 2015

Tiniest lag


And I'm still not sleeping great. I dream about rapids--Tim wonders if I have a bit of PTSD from the trip. There's just a lot to process about New Zealand, and so I guess I'm still doing that.

I still haven't started on my 'big' research project yet and summer is technically half over according to our school calendar (I hate being on quarters in June, I love being on quarters in August and September). I have revamped two syllabi for fall term so that's good--and one paper that has been 'in the works' for a bit is almost done. And we're about to send off a book manuscript. So it isn't like I'm a huge slacker.

I gave up on two books: "The War of the Encyclopedists" because I thought it was going to be a nerdy book a la Mr. Penumbra and it wasn't and "A Man at the Helm" because it is meant to be funny but I'm not finding it so. I'm reading a new book by Elin Hildebrand (sp?) that is pure chick lit and not funny but good characters so that's fine.

And I started on the baby onesie, Pepita. It is at the top of this post. Cute!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back to normal?

I finally had what I consider a 'normal' night's sleep last night and life around our house appears to be getting back to what is considered normal. Maybe?

Usually we go on vacation at the end of the summer---after Labor Day when things get less crowded. And then usually after we get home there is a rush to get ready for the new term. This year, I have half the summer left to enjoy/get work stuff done, and since I didn't get a whole lot done before the trip I feel a bit behind--but also know I have plenty of time to get stuff done.

I don't have any knitting projects that I'm chomping at the bit to start on and so am digging through the WIPs to finish those up. I did a bit of work on Jeanie yesterday:

Once I get in the rhythm this goes pretty quickly, although it did take me two hours to do ten rows yesterday. But I really like this and want to finish it this summer.

I also returned to the mindless garter stitch that is my pretend Drachenfels. Unfortunately Comet loves it too.

I'm working on the navy part and should have this finished in the next day or so.

Nothing really on the agenda knit-wise, other than baby stuff (several students are having babies, so hats are necessary--also my niece is having a baby and I'm going to make a Pepita for her) and I do want to knit a black sweater but is anything more dull than saying "I want to knit a black sweater"?

I also have been reading....I read "House of Echoes" which was very spooky, along with "Re Jane" which was a retelling of Jane Eyre and a book called "Hausfrau" which was very depressing. I have just started "The War of the Encyclopediasts" which I'm not sure how that will be and I have "The Luminaries" which is about New Zealand.

I had two work things I wanted to cross off the list yesterday but got stymied both times...I needed more information from people and it was not forthcoming. So instead I worked on a syllabus. I might do that today too, as the info still isn't back.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lagging part 2

So--we've moved from waking up in the middle of the night to not being able to go to sleep at night and then sleeping really poorly. So I worry the 'one day for every hour' of time difference may come true.

First--knitting. During the two weeks in NZ, I knit about an inch and a half on a sock. When I got home, I realized I wanted it to be a cowl instead. So I call this the 'vamp' cowl, since I'm just vamping and knitting whatever I want on it:

And now for a few more NZ pictures. Our last place that we visited was a town called Paihia in the Bay of Islands. These pictures are from there--first the view from our balcony, then our neighbors at the Chalet Romantica:

About half an hour away was the town of Kerikeri, where the first missionaries lived. This is the stone store (one of the original buildings) and the Kemp House, built in the 19th century and lived in (with minimal improvements) by Kemp family members until the 1970s.

We took a ferry to the town of Russell, where we walked up to the highest point where the British erected a flagstaff (that was cut down a couple of times). What views!

 Russel is a quaint town in a very British style.

Goat head.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lagging in so many ways

Today is Saturday. We've been back since Tuesday night, and we're still lagging. We both have some sleep disruption, and we're hoping the adage that it takes one night for every hour time difference to catch up is wrong since that gives us more than two weeks of jet lag to look forward to!

But much of the lag comes from just trying to process everything that we did and to reconcile it with our lives here. I hesitate to say the trip was life changing--because it is so clear now that we can't change so many things--but maybe more life CONFIRMING---confirming that you can live a wonderful, low impact, non materialistic life and be totally happy. If you're living in NZ that is.

The highlight of the trip was our raft trip that culminated with a pretty major rapid--going over a 22 foot high waterfall. I've already fallen out by the bottom picture. It was amazing just to do that, and to challenge myself to do it (my first reaction was 'no way' but I kept that to myself....I think I figured that if I die on that trip, that's not a bad way to die). It was an incredible ride and I was smiling the whole time. So much fun.

Part of the reason the trip as a whole was so much fun was because of the people. We met so many interesting people, genuine people, people who are highly accepting of quirkiness. This was our raft--on the left is Matt, our guide, then two Americans who live in Australia and play lacrosse sort of semi professionally, then me and Tim, then a couple Brian and Miriam from The Netherlands. Miriam and I bonded in the changing room when I said "I"m kind of scared" and she said "me too." Brian pulled me back in the raft (he was the only one who stayed in..Tim almost did).

Everywhere we went we had experiences that were so different than here and met amazing new people. The thermal areas in Rotorua were where some of "LOTR" was filmed, and looked prehistoric, even though many of them were formed in the late 19th century.  Visiting the Maori village could have been touristy-cheesy, but as we learned more of the history of the Maoris and how the blending of Maori-Anglo culture happened with minimal bloodshed and great cooperation I was inspired and impressed. Auckland is a major city that is clean as a whistle. The Bay of Islands looked a bit like the Oregon coast, with secrets around every corner.

The people. Wow. There's a Maori saying:

He aha te mea nui?
He tangata.
He tangata.
He tangata.

What is the most important thing?  It is people, it is people, it is people.

So many great people--the people at AUT who hosted the conference (yes, I was there for 'work), the lovely cabdriver from the airport in Auckland who thought we overpaid and called the hotel to discuss that with us, our Maori bus driver, Dennis, who drove around a roundabout three times while leading the bus in the singing of 'She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain", the two lovely ladies knitting in the Anglican Church in Rotorua who told us some great stories about the church, the friendly people at the coffee shop where we had breakfast every day, our new friends Inge and Edi who run the B&B we stayed at in the Bay of Islands, and the new friends from the B&B--Angela who does knitting specs for a design firm in Auckland and her partner Kim, Alex and Betty from Wellington, the Canadians and Aussies who shared the breakfast table with us...such nice and interesting people.

Kiwis (New Zealanders) seemed appreciative that we chose to visit their home and interested in where we were traveling. We were often greeted with "Kia Ora", maori for 'welcome' (and goodbye, and thanks, and whatever). Every shop person and server was just welcoming and friendly.

I developed a love of Ginger Beer, Tim developed an affection for the All Blacks (the NZ national rugby team..I like them too), we learned to appreciate/understand roundabouts, and Tim drove on the left hand side of the road like a champ. We tried a lot of new things and enjoyed every minute of the action packed trip. We learned so much and came away with a great appreciation for NZ. We want to go back. I didn't want to come home, which is the first time I've felt that way in a long, long time.

Kia Ora.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Really Matters...

....when you are in New Zealand.

New Zealand is absolutely amazing. Not so great bandwidths though.

Anyway--we have been exploring all types of beautiful places and meeting all manner of lovely people. And eating all kinds of delicious food--PAVLOVA! Why don't we have that at home?

This afternoon we'll be going on a raft trip that culminates with a 7 meter waterfall. Yes, the raft goes over the waterfall. You are all knitters so you know how big of a drop that is. I'm a bit scared.

This morning we walked around Rotorua (which is where we are right now, we leave tomorrow for the Bay of Islands) and did a bit of shopping. I bought New Zealand yarn because that is what one does, right? The top is two different colors of a new range put out by Naturally New Zealand. The yarn is Harmony Colour Tweed, and both skeins are dye lot 1 which says they are the first lot! The shop lady told me that the company tests new yarns in NZ before it decides whether to take them international or not. So I feel very in the know. The big hunk is 8 ply Creative Yarns hand dyed in NZ in the  Blackberry colorway. Creative Yarns is based in Rotorua. The 200 grams is 410 meters and it cost about $20 (US). I call that a bargain!!

More pics when we return early next week.

Thursday, July 02, 2015


I continue to vamp on the Drachenfels, and now I'm calling it Drachenstreifen (dragon stripes). The colors are working great together.
My favorite part are the little dots that come from two rows of slipped stitches. That's the entertaining part of the knit.

I've been getting ready for our trip to New Zealand, and we're pretty much under control for 'this point' (we leave Tuesday afternoon).

It has been very warm here, with many threats of wildfires especially during the holiday weekend. Eugene has banned fireworks in the 'south' part of town (which includes us) and I'm thrilled about that--although who knows how well it will be implemented, given that the City Council just voted yesterday to approve it.

On Tuesday, Civic Stadium, our local baseball field, burned to the ground.It was built in 1938 (I believe) as part of a WPA project and  was one of the oldest (if not the oldest) minor league ball park in the country. The fire was started by four kids, 12 and under, playing around with a lighter. That makes me so sad. They'll be charged with second degree arson and hopefully they'll learn some tough tough lessons from this event.