Friday, August 31, 2012

Riding the Rails

View from the Jackson Street Blue Line stop
I'm writing this short post aboard the CTA - from O'Hare airport to downtown Chicago.  Whenever I travel, I like to take public transportation if I can.  In DC, I take the metro.  In Minneapolis, it used to be the city bus from the airport to my sister's house, now it's light rail.

Today I am traveling to Chicago for a 2-day business meeting.  I'm on the blue line and writing this post on my phone.  Multiple new experiences at the same time!  Since I had better than an hour, the train @ $2.25 seemed like a good value as well as a cultural peak into big city life.

Earlier this month my friend Sally and I took Amtrak to DC, a long night train ride.  This is very different. We trainsters are moving along while the cars are crawling. People getting on the trains include people in suits and Tshirts, speaking English and Spanish.  They chat, read the paper, play with their phones, write, and just sit with eyes open or closed.  I started to knit, but then decided to write this post.

Requisite knitting content:  A short trip, I brought only the llama-cotton vest.  I guess I am making an assumption that all will go well, though I did bring an additional book and MP3 player.  The vest is kind of a slog.  It is knit top down, with yarn overs that make each row progressively longer.  It's the second one, destined to be a combo shop sample and class 'knit along' but the class didn't make.  So now I just want to get it done!

I'll try to post this with a picture, though the learning curve will likely take its toll.

OK, I posted the picture back in my office a day or two later. A fine trip, everything ran on time and I even snuck in a trip to the Chicago Art Institute.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cousins Count

This busy summer continues to roll along.  Between my professional work, my creative work and a bit of down time, it is hard to believe that August is here already.  There has been a good bit of travel (NC, VA, OH) with more to come (DC & Chicago).  The picture here is the view from a lovely hike in the New River Gorge (WV).

Last weekend I made a little trip to northeast Ohio to visit family.  When I was growing up, there were at least 2 family reunions each summer - often 3.  But we are all grown and spread out now, so it's hard to get together.  I was one of the cousins who moved away early.  I have not lived in the town where I grew up  since I was 18, and I really lost track of most of my cousins.  Since Facebook has made it easier to keep track of each other, we have reconnected.  So about a year ago my sister Ronnie & cousin Tony decided that we should have a reunion.  Last weekend the Quinn Cousins came together.

My mother was one of 8 siblings in an Irish Catholic family and they were nothing if not prolific.  I grew up with 38 first cousins, plus a couple of long-term foster children who I never knew weren't real cousins.  Now there are only a few of my mother's siblings and in-laws still alive, so it's up to our generation to keep this slightly crazy and very fun family from becoming lost to one another.  I think I chatted with a few cousins for the first time.  When you are a child, a few years difference is huge. Now, not so much.  So it was lovely to gather in the parish hall and visit.  We shared a meal, talked, laughed and caught up with one another.  Three of my sisters and their husbands were there and we had fun catching up and shared a few important conversations.

I admit that I did not go to all the events -  I missed dinner on Friday night, touring the town were we grew up, the poker games and Sunday picnic.  I wish I could have stayed through Sunday, but a deadline required that I head on down the road.  I am so glad that I went.  My fiber-geek reputation is not unnoticed.  I brought home a bag of alpaca fiber!

I'm also glad that I stopped for a hike half way there.  Rather like family, you have to see the big and glorious picture (like the photo above), but remember to pay attention to the small, but remarkable details.  I looked down to see a couple stands of Indian Pipes.  A walk in the woods is a great way to break up a long drive.

Official Fiber Content:  I started a 2nd Equinox Raglan - this time in Noro Silk Garden.  I like the cotton/linen one so well (I'm wearing it now), that I know that I'll want to keep wearing it when it gets chilly.  I have a vest class on the schedule at Friends and Fiberworks, but I'm not sure it will make.  I'll make my own even if no one else joins me!