Today I visited Paradise – Paradise Fibers in Spokane, WA.  Words fail me.  It is truly a yarn and fiber lovers' paradise:


I was able to view the world's largest set of Addi Turbo's:


Of course, some goodies jumped into my bag, a couple of skeins of Dream in Color Smooshy for a shawl, some merino/silk top for a vest (I hope) and some really cute puppy snips:


Last night we visited with hubby's brother in Cheny, WA:


We met our new great-niece Shiloh for the first time:


We also snuggled with some really cute puppies:


We could have had one for the taking, but they are mastiffs and will grow to about 150 pounds, so we passed.  I don't think Maggie would be amused.

Tonight we're spending the night with hubby's other brother in Pullman, WA:


And my fellow knitting buddy, my sister-in-law Debbie:


Tomorrow we will be home and sleeping in our own bed.  Now that's paradise!!

Heading West

It's official now – we are both homesick!  We're so happy to be heading home and have even managed to drive a little longer today so we'll be home one day early.  But we've had a lot to look back on fondly this past week.

We spent four days in Michigan with hubby's cousin Annie.  


She so generously opened her home to us and we used it as a base of operations to visit with both sides of Bill's family.  We visited with some maternal cousins and aunts:


On Saturday night, Annie had a huge get-together.  Her Dad (Bill's uncle) had 8 kids and each of those kids has at least four.  Many of them were there and it was a fun, noisy, chaotic party!  It's been so fun to watch hubby with these wonderful cousins who are as close to him as siblings.

On Monday we headed up to Spring Harbor to visit with another cousin and drooled over the beautiful vacation homes.  I picked mine out!


Then we kept on north to Mackinac Island.  To those of you not familiar with it, the island is accessible only by ferry and no motorized vehicles are allowed on the island – only horses and bicycles.


We were assured by our tour guide that they do allow the fire department to have real fire trucks!


That night we spent a lovely night at a beautiful lakeside cabin generously loaned to us by Bill's cousins.  We awoke the next morning to a gorgeous harvest moon setting over the lake.


Next on our stop was a wonderful visit with Bill's sister just north of Chicago.  We were able to help our great-nephew Caleb celebrate his first birthday in style:


And visit the Jelly Belly plant:


As much fun as we've had, we're so excited to be headed west and toward home!  We did officially find the Middle of the Nowhere smack dab in the middle of South Dakota (no offense to you South Dakotians out there!).  It just seemed that for hours and hours the road was straight, with no curves and no change in scenery.  Of course, we did make the obligatory stops at the Corn Palace and Wall Drug's giant dinosaur!


Not as much knitting being accomplished because hubby is getting weary of driving and is asking me to help out.  I'm not sure if I'll complete my third shawl, but I've definitely made headway.  I'll be having a lace blocking party when I get home!

Northern Exposure

We've completed the southern part of our trip and have now embarked on the northern leg.  After leaving Kentucky, we headed for Michigan. 

Our first stop was in Kalamazoo where a long-awaited blogger meeting occurred.  I finally met Marguerite – Stitches of Violet!  She treated us to lunch and it was wonderful to finally meet her.  She and I have made a special connection via our blogs and I loved being able to spend time with her.

She brought me a skein of her favorite sock yarn from Slackford Studios and we brought her some Whidbey Coffee.  Our time was over all too quickly, but she did suggest that since hubby loves airplanes we visit Air Zoo in Kalamazoo.  What a great place!  We liked it so much that we went back the next day.  If you're ever in the area, it is a can't miss!


Lots and lots of relatives from Bill's side to visit here.  We've been spending time at Bill's cousin's house and are really appreciating her hospitality.  As it turned out, they were in New York when we arrived, but we had instructions to just go in and make ourselves at home, which we have done.  She left us a list of things to do until they returned.  At the top of the list was Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.  As it turned out, they were having a Dale Chihuly exhibit, which made us feel right at home!


They had a wonderful children's garden, which included a sculpture entitled "Mad Mom":


Hubby relaxed with a bear:


While Nana proved how very brave she was by petting a dragon:


We saw a really, really big horse:


And when we got tired, found a sweet couple willing to share their park bench with us:


This morning we went to a Farmers' Market and bought some bread and a freshly picked honey crisp apple.  I made my first yarn purchase of the trip – some Opal sock yarn at a cute store in Rockford.

Tonight is a big family reunion with some of Bill's favorite cousins.  Lots of old pictures will be brought out and old times relived.  All before my time, but I've got my knitting and will enjoy sitting in the background watching hubby have the time of his life!


A trip back to my hometown of
Thomasville, Missouri is always a bittersweet trip down memory lane.  The town almost seems frozen in
time.  I was born here, and although
my Dad’s Navy career took us far and wide, this is where we came when we “went
home”.  During at least one of my
Dad’s deployments I lived and went to school here.

 It was here that hubby and I
decided to take our relationship to “the next level”.  The newly engaged couple posed in front of my grandparents’

And again, 38 years later:


The house where I was born
has changed:


But the gas station where my
grandpa would take us for a “pop” looks much the same, right down to the bench
out front where the old timers would spit and whittle:


The post office has long been
closed when the postal service decided the town was too small and took away its
zip code:


My grandparents’ house (where
our photos were taken) has changed little, except for the trees that have grown
so large.


Sadly, my parents’ house has
changed since the demise of the grand old tree out front:


Although my parents moved to
this house only 30 years ago, it is still the home where I brought my children
to introduce them to Thomasville.

While here we have dined
royally.  For a town of only 70
(give or take a few), Thomasville boasts one of the finest restaurants around,
The River’s Edge Grill. 


Here you can feast on catfish
and hushpuppies, slaw, beans and a fine sirloin steak.  If you want a table on Friday night,
you’d better get there early because people come from far and wide, including
real honest-to-goodness cowboys. 
They told my mom she couldn’t sit in the cowboy section unless she has
boots, so she keeps threatening to get some.

Yesterday, after visiting an old grain mill, we went to the big
city of Birch Tree (pop. 700), my Dad’s home town, for the annual Logging Days
celebration.  There we feasted on
deep fried pickles (actually quite good!) and the absolutely best pulled pork
sandwich and baked beans I have ever had.



Today we embarked on the next
leg of our journey, beginning with the National Quilt Museum in Paducah,
Kentucky.  Sadly, no pictures were allowed in the museum, but suffice it to say I was appropriately gobsmacked.  I was alternately inspired and determined never to touch a quilting needle again, as I am not worthy!  But I got over the not worthy part and while Bill is happily ensconced in the hotel with air conditioning, cable TV, internet and free snacks, I'm off to the Holy Grail – Hancock's of Paducah!  Yahoo!!!



Road Trip Week 1

Our first week on the trip has been a resounding success!  Our first event of note was a blogger meet up.  At the last minute we realized we would be right in Theresa's backyard and quickly arranged a get-together.  We had a wonderful time visiting with Theresa, her hubby and darling children – a boy and twin girls.


Theresa actually hasn't been blogging that much because, in addition to being a wonderful wife, mum and homeschooling her children, she designs scrapbook kits for Heritage Scrap and Faith Sisters.  I don't think her kits are showing up yet on Faith Sisters, but stay tuned.  Bless her heart, she gave me a disc with some of her new kits on it.  How cool is that?  We also found out that we had so much more in common than we thought.  She is also a spinner and we compared our experiences and she was excited to show me her new lace pattern from Fiddlesticks Knitting.  It's the same one I brought with me on the trip!  It's the pattern for the Featherlight Shawls.  More on that later.

Our first touristy stop was Yosemite.  Everyone had told us how fantastic it was, but words just cannot express the beauty of the place.  As an added bonus, the weather was on the cooler side (only 90) and for some reason on the day we were there, the crowds had disappeared, so it was relatively relaxed.

El Capitan – it still just boggles my mind that we saw several climbers on the face.



We stayed at a wonderful B&B way, way back in the woods.  Together with 2 other couples, we had the run of the entire house – the host does not even live there, but invited us to make ourselves at home.  Two wonderful ladies came and took care of us in the morning and then disappeared to give us privacy the rest of the time.


As we made our way out of California, we were surprised to discover that we were going right through Loma Linda, where my former boss (who made this trip possible with a generous contribution to my retirement plan), is going to graduate school.  We zipped off the highway and managed to surprise him as he was studying in one of the student lounges.  It was complete serendipity that we tracked him down, courtesy of his wife, but the look on his face was worth it.  I got the best hug!!  Only after we left did I realize I completely forgot to take a picture.

Our next stop was at hubby's cousin's house in Arizona.  Can you say HOT??  The temps ranged from a balmy 100 all the way up to 117.  But hubby had a wonderful time visiting with three of his favorite cousins and they delivered some outstanding hospitality.


Today was spent at the Grand Canyon.  I suppose we should have expected huge crowds on a Labor Day weekend, but it was even more crowded than we expected.  It made for long waits for the shuttles and some pretty cranky park rangers.  We were surprised at the contrast between the personnel at Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.  At Yosemite everyone was so nice and just couldn't do enough for us.  At the Canyon, everyone was pretty short, but that could be explained somewhat by the huge crowds.  But despite it all, the vistas were absolutely mind boggling.


The next three days will be travel days and not much sightseeing unless we see something by the side of the road that looks interesting.  That means a lot of knitting will be accomplished.  So far I've gotten quite a bit done.  I finished the Aeolian shawl.  Toward the end the rows got incredibly long and I was glad to see the end of it.  Of course, no blocking until I get home.  I've now started the Rosevine Shawl – no pictures.  I took one, but it didn't come out that well and I am SO tired!  Off to run a hot bath and relax.