Lani's household consists of Steve, the long-suffering coding genius and computer security guru; Jim, Lani's tall, red-headed and handsome son, currently finishing his second year of college; Hunter, Jasmine, Himari, Chenault, the miraculous Onyx and the even more miraculous Resk, undisputed feline rulers of the house; and Jesse, the man-hating green-cheeked conure.
Ann's household consists of Don, who is not just a computer genius but a pilot, a builder, and a damn good father; their son Steve, the marathon-running, college-bound, funniest teenager I know; and wonder dog Tater.
Other family members are Laurie, Lani's beautiful daughter who teaches at elementary levels; her handsome son Alex, aka Alexander the Great; Mary and Bo, a/k/a Mom and Dad, and Bud and Ann, Steve's patient and wonderful parents.
Well, I arrived last night. The long flights weren't as bad as I thought it would be, I actually slept about 2 hours the first flight and 4 hours the second one so it made the time go by more quickly.
The hotel we're at is just gorgeous. Here's a picture of the building I'm staying in, which is one of the buildings on the 22 acres that make up the hotel campus. It's very British Colonial style - wicker, rattan, dark wood, light fabrics - and wonderful service. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, but what makes it seem exotic is the sounds. I can't take a picture of those, but I was woken up this morning to bird songs I've never heard before. I wish I could figure out what was making which noise, but they are really loud and really different! They have tons of little squirrel/chipmunk thingies on the trees. They are smaller than a squirrel, they have stripes like a chipmunk, the tail is a cross between the two (fluffy like a squirrel, but they hold it straight up like a chipmunk when they run) and they climb like a squirrel.
The tree to the right in the picture above is a ficus, and the thing has figs growing on it. Look at this - they come right out of the trunk. Haven't seen that before.
I went shopping today,and realized that traffic is really bad. There are lots of things on the road you never see at home like packs of wild dogs, oxen pulling carts, horses, elephants - it's all mixed with buses and Mercedes. Wild. I particularly like the cabs and motorcycles. Here is a typical shot - the cabs are the yellow things, they are three wheelers on motorcycle engines, with a seat for two behind the driver. There are always lots of motorcycles - love the guy with a scooter on his lap on the back of the motorcycle!
And this is my personal favorite. I call it sari-side-saddle. You see this a lot, a whole family on a motorcycle. Usually with more children hanging off, but you get the idea.
More later - we're going back out shopping this afternoon. So much to see . . .
Tell you what, if I knit a sweater the baby turns out really cute. Here is my boss' little girl, Julianna, in the pink sweater. Isn't she adorable? And bright eyed - from what I hear, she doesn't sleep, and I'm sure that's only the beginning of how she'll run them around!
I am almost packed for India. I leave tomorrow night, and will return next Thursday. I will have time for a little shopping while I'm there, and I keep hearing about how jewelry is so cheap . . and silks . . . and rugs . . . good thing I only have one day! Steve and Don have frozen chicken pot pie, spaghetti, and lasagna to keep them from starving while I'm gone. I'll be posting while I'm there, so you can hear about it.
I am bracing myself for 8 hours to Frankfurt, then 3 hours layover, then another 8 hours to Bangalore, India. I am taking knitting (did you ever doubt?) to keep me from going stir-crazy. The plan is to sleep the first 8 hours, stay awake the second 8 hours, and then when I arrive in Bangalore at 1AM local time I'll want to sleep. That's the plan, anyway. I'll tell you how it works.
So, you know that nasty cold Laurie had when we were in New York? When she was little and I was trying to teach her to share, sharing her colds was NOT what I had in mind. Nonetheless she was an apt student ... and I've spent the last few days in a sneezing, coughing, sniffling heap of misery as a result.
But back to the New York memories! Ah yes, as you pointed out, the waiters loved Laurie. Not just our waiter at Joe Allen's, but the waiter at the Hard Rock too, who brought us free drinks and lots of 'em.
(please note: Laurie had ordered one drink. Obviously the waiter liked her.):
And then there's the waiter at Joe Allen's. Yes, he was also quite taken by Laurie, wasn't he? And tactful, referring to us as "your friends" rather than as "those old bags with you" when he talked to her. And finally, before I recede back into my Nyquil-induced haze, here are the three of us together in New York. It was a great time; let's do it again!
Buy a $.99 bath puff, cut it open, cut off a length and tie a knot in it - and you have the best yarn ball holder ever. It keeps your center pull ball from unraveling on the outside. Magic, I tell you, magic.
So, Lani, do you remember this? I finally got it framed and hung in my guest bath, and it looks wonderful. I'm the grateful recipient of your needlework, so if you have any more you want to send this way my door is always open!
And finally, here is what Don got me for Christmas. He had an artist in China copy my favorite Toulouse-Latrec painting, and it is back from framing. Isn't it wonderful? I know everyone is relieved that I am using this to replace the fish. No one loved my fish but me, so he is now relegated to France.
In other news, we are all doing well. I will be home this week since I leave for India on Friday. I have changed my travel plans, though, and won't be going to Australia this time around, so I'll be home again the following Thursday in body at least. I expect it might take my mind about 24 hours to catch up with me.
Don is fine, and the airplane should come home next week. Of course, they found more stuff to be done during the annual, so it's not quite done yet.
Steve has finished his finals for the first semester, and has a little bit of a break this weekend before he has to start up again. His load will belighter next semester, which he's happy about. I don't know how he lucked out but he has an open slot first period. That's perfect for study, or for making sure you have homework done - lucky guy, huh!
So we were at Les Mis last night, in the fabulous seats Lani got us, and next to Lani was a group of four men obviously in NY on business and coming out to a show. Lani leaned over laughing and told me she had overheard this conversation:
"Hey, honey, so Mike took us somewhere, I don't really know where we are, but there's something up in front of me that says Les (pronounced like you see it, forget the french) Miserables (again with the pronunciation) . . .
Followed by much squealing from the cell phone.
Then the next guy over says, "Man, that wasn't very smart".
The show was fabulous, and then we went out to dinner where the waiter fell in love with Laurie. I'll let Lani post the picture.
Today, I have been running hard on about 4 hours sleep. Train to Long Island, car to the office, non-stop meetings and problems, followed by a change in travel plans so back to Manhattan. I'm at the Hilton Times Square, which is totally where we should have all stayed. It's right in the middle of the action, and I'm too tired to do anything!
I turned on the TV while I was eating room service, and I am actually watching American Idol for the first time ever. I can't turn away from the train wreck.
I am off to bed now, so I can get up really early again and take a train to Baltimore at 7 AM, followed by a cab, followed by more meetings, followed by a cab again, followed by a plane, followed by a car home. Whew.
I haven't posted because we're kind of in New York, we being Laura and me, and we've kind of been pretty busy here what with going out to eat (constantly) and going to Chinatown and going out to eat and going to the Met and going out to eat and shopping in uptown and going out to eat and ... well, yeah. Here are some of our pictures so far. We're staying right around the corner from Times Square, literally a block away, so this is what it looks like when we walk out of the hotel: The Met was fantastic too; we really enjoyed it. As always the exhibits were beautiful; Laurie and I walked and walked and oohed and aahed and I'm sure didn't see the half of it. As you can see, though, she was dressed to the nines and could have been an exhibit in and of herself. Me? I wore a plain black suit and stayed in the background and enjoyed myself! AND now I hear you're going to come join us tomorrow night for Les Miz .. .perfect! All three of us in one city? This will be great. Can't wait to see you, Annie!
Some finished, some not-so-finished (posted by Ann)
I finally have some knitting pictures for you. Here I am in my new scarf and hat, just in time for the big freeze that is headed our way this week. Brrrr! I swear it's the worst picture ever of me, but there you go. Just look at the cute pom-pom on the hat, and not at me. I am also letting you in on my shameful secret, which is that I still have Christmas decorations in my house. Now, what is behind me on the mantel is just about it, but still. The shame, oh the shame.
I went through my project bin and realized that I have three sets of socks in progress. Here they are in order of completeness - the first is a dropped rib stitch, and I like it though they are too big for me. I have skinny feet and skinny calves, so the regular sock patterns are always too lose. I finally figured it out, so this is the last pair I'll make that are too big for me. They are a really nice mix of brick red, pinks and greens. I have a full sock, and the toe of another. I am using the toe-up method for these. As you can see, Don decided that it works great as a remote-control cozy.
. The second one is top-down, and in a great Lorna Laces colorway with cream, orange, and slate blue. The pattern is from Knitty by Jessica Landers, but I can't find the name. It's a great lace sock, and on this one I got the sizing right. I've got the heel flap done. The last pair I started just last week. It's a purple and blue mix of Trekking, top down, and is twisted rib. I really like the way the cables look with the variations in the yarn. Pretty, even if it doesn't look so on this not-so-great picture. Don noticed that I was taking pictures of socks, so he decided his should be in just for the record. Maybe you can see why I don't knit socks for him - size 14.
Don's airplane has been fixed, and he went to North Carolina to pick it up this week. I am generally not nervous about him flying, but he had to do the first flight in a plane with a new engine, new propellor, new landing gear, and lots of other new stuff. I was not very happy. Of course, it all went well, and it's now at our regular mechanic's shop in Indiana getting "eyes on it", as our mechanic says. Not a bad idea to double check after all that work. Don might actually have a functioning airplane in another week! July 28 to January 20 is a long time for Don to not have his plane.
Things are generally quiet here otherwise. I was picking paint colors this weekend for the house, and looking for a new camera, but other than that we're doing well. What's up with you, other than being too busy to post??
When I got home from work tonight, Don told me that Pumpkin matched me and I remembered that this blouse came with a tie that I never use, so I made her really match. Isn't she a pretty girl? And here's what I worked on while I was on vacation. Mom and I got the material while she was here for Thanksgiving, and I actually got out the sewing machine and had at it. The curtains were easy, but the tiebacks gave me fits. I love how they look, though, they are yellow during the day but they glimmer in gold when the lights are on at night.
I keep thinking about what a beautiful ball gown this material would make. I don't have anywhere to wear it, but I bought extra material just in case.
I have been knitting, but no pictures today. Next time I promise the finished pink sweater, and a hat and scarf I've been making. I'm not going anywhere this week, but we have big news - Don's airplane is fixed. Remember the airplane crash way back when we first started this blog? Long, long ago? Finally fixed, and he's going to get it this week. I'm not all that thrilled about him being the test pilot with the new engine, but I guess I'm in the Scarlett O'Hara mode with the curtains so I'll worry about it tomorrow.
Hope you are doing well and enjoying your travel. I'm working on New York - I'll let you know what I come up with!