Vacation, Disney (last one I promise)

*This is the last part of my vacation series, for now.  I do have a trip planned to Washington, DC in August, and I hope to get to EGLFC (Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference) in October since I have already paid for it.  Next week we resume crafty content!*

My sibling went to Disney Tokyo and enjoyed themself immensely.  This was our first trip to a state-side Disney, and my first anywhere.  Since we were staying at Hotel Disney we received a pin for our first visit, a pin since our visit was in celebration of our birthdays, and a Disney Hotel Pin.  These were each about 3″ across, and wonderfully done.  We also received coupons for lanyards to hold our 3-Day passes and room keys.  These are also used in collecting pins, something that I did not believe I would be interested in, however my previous entries detailing the three or four  pins that I purchased along the way prove that I am more interested in pins than I previously thought.

Motion sickness medication was a lifesaver.  We went on the Space Tours ride, which was nauseating but so much fun.  The Haunted Mansion was an absolute blast, we wound up stalled for a few minutes, however it was at just the  perfect time so that we could see more of the ghost blowing out candles, and the others waltzing.  The room where you could watch old cartoons was amazing and brought back so many good memories.  I was a little hesitant to try the Dole Whip, despite its reputation since I do not like pineapple, however it was refreshing and wonderful.  I loved the Tiki Show and the Hawaiian Deities explaining their history was just fascinating.  During our visit there were several places where other cultures were explored.  On the forest walk there were several statues depicting Native American Deities as well as explanations for the beliefs behind their appearances.  There was so much that happened during our visit to Disney and California Adventures I am just going to go with the highlights.  I loved the riverboat cruise, it took us throughout the Disney park explaining different aspects along the way.  There was a backlog for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but the wait was well worth it.  My sibling purchased a fast-pass for us, this was certainly worth the price (and dirty looks).  The only activities that we partook in more than once were the Dole Whip and the Tiki Room.  California Adventure park was a lot of fun, however I cannot distinctly remember a single thing we did there.  We partook of dinner at the Storyteller’s Cafe in the Hotel California, I cannot recommend them enough.  On our last day we attempted to get back in for another meal and were told by the guard we should go to the park instead.  I’m not sure where the discrepancy is, but that was sincerely disheartening.

Our last day was an absolute blast.  Unbeknownst to my sibling and I at the time of our booking, our final day coincided with the opening of the new Star Wars section of the park.  WE GOT TICKETS!  They were a part of our stay so we were able to be in the first group, on the first day, of the new Star Wars section of Disney California.  My sibling purchased us t-shirts to commemorate our visit and I decided to splurge on the pin set (I let Phoebe choose which two pins they wanted and kept the other two).  Then we walked everywhere and took tons of photographs of absolutely everything.  (We are not in any of the photographs I am going to post).

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The ride was so wickedly fun, especially since it was interactive.  There were three positions, pilot, gunner, and engineer.  My sibling and I were the engineers, and it was such fun.  Surprisingly, because our drivers were not amazing, we did not get motion sick at all.  I believe that this is mostly due to the attention that we had to pay to ensure we were pressing the correct buttons as soon as possible.  It was so much fun.  There were so many things to look at and do.  My sibling could not resist purchasing a Jedi Cloak (they do some cosplay and have a use for it) since I cannot even find a time to wear my velvet cloak I didn’t bother.

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If nothing else you have to give Disney Major props for their attention to detail.  I had so much fun, and I am certainly thinking of trying to save up for the Florida park at some point.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!  (crafting content next week, I promise!)

Whew, back from vacation

*This entry as well as the next will have no crafting content.  Next week’s entry will have some mention of Yarn Shops, however I did not get as much crafting done as I thought I would.*

I always forget how much I get done when I work nights at the Private Catholic University.  There my main occupation is making sure that the students have what they need to be successful, and keeping an eye on e-mails coming in.  This is where I get some of my blogging, and creative thinking, done.  Because classes are out, I was on vacation to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and I did not feel well this past week, I have not had much time to craft or blog.  Sorry about the gap, now on to the vacation tales!

My transgender sibling and I started our trip with a  2 day stay in Las Vegas.  I play MyVegas on Facebook and so had earned enough points for a free 2 day stay.  It did cost a total of $80 for the amenities at the hotel, however this was significantly less than a normal stay and so well worth it.  The first night my sibling and I wanted to try the Bellagio buffet since it was supposed to be one of the best out there.  If this is the case then the world sorely disappoints me.  The buffet at the Bellagio was a poor attempt at elegance.  At a cost of around $100, including the tip, for two people to dine the food was mediocre at best.  The service was amazing, however I did not find anything amazing, or unique at this buffet and I looked hard.  This was a good set up for most of the food during our visit, with a few shining exceptions.  I also did some gambling at the Bellagio, they are part of the MGM Suite of casinos and so I wound up with the M Life Card.  I did not do too well gambling at the Bellagio but some of the other casino’s were a bit more successful.  It was certainly a good thing that I was not there to primarily gamble.

The second day, our first full day in Vegas, was mostly spent exploring one half of the strip.  It is almost impossible to see everything in a single day.  My sibling decided that they wanted to see a show that night and so we purchased discounted tickets to see the jousting at the Excalibur that evening.  Until then we meandered our way toward that casino, taking in the sights and sounds along the way.  There was a store titled Stupidology, with fun and funny kitsch of all types. For lunch we decided on the Nine Irishmen, which was exquisite.  With an amazing atmosphere as well as fascinating décor you would really believe that you were in a (non-smoking) pub in Ireland complete with Irish music playing in the background.  Okay, so some of the music was Americanized, I’m not sure there are non-smoking pubs in Ireland, and I have never had an opportunity to go to Ireland, but you get the idea.  The food was amazing as well as very reasonably priced.

Everyone that we interacted with, from staff, tourists, or servers, everyone was without exception almost aggressively friendly.  I have had a few encounters in larger cities where my naturally friendly demeanor was mistaken for flirting or insulting.  I was very pleased that this attitude is not one that I encountered during my entire vacation.  We then wandered around taking more photographs until it was time for our show.  The little arcade in the same area where the show was held was adorable and a bit of fun.  During the actual show we sat next to a lovely couple originally from Germany, then gentleman did not believe that Buffalo existed.  He has been sent to conferences there twice and both times they have been cancelled.  The show itself was very fun, goofy and kitschy with some amazing eye-candy for both men and women.  Our mother was Hungarian so it seemed like fate that we obtained front row tickets in the Hungarian section.  The food was not horrible, however it was certainly not intended to be the focal point either.  Our second day ended with me walking back to our hotel while my sibling spent a little more time playing around.

Our third day, second full day, we had a flight out of Vegas into Los Angeles at 11pm.  Since this was our last day in Vegas my sibling decided that it would be a good idea for us to mail some of our belongings home so that we would not have to pay any luggage fees.  This was a great idea, though the luggage fees would have been less in the long run than the mailing costs.  We had a lovely breakfast in the Bellagio, and I later returned for a treat to take with me.  For the last  day my sibling wanted to see a Magic Show so we obtained tickets for Mac King who performed a magic and comedy routine.  While we were waiting we had tacos, not really worth it, as well as a virtual reality experience.  We were able to have 2 rounds with virtual reality for both of us for a total of $25.  The experience was amazing.  Since my sibling and I both tend toward motion sickness we were fortunate that we had taken medication, however the experience was well worth the discomfort.  I chose a fantasy scenario, it was like stepping into guild wars or another MMORPG.  It did not matter what direction I looked there was something new everywhere.  While in the boat when I looked down I saw the ocean floor through the clear sea, to the right a Titan emerged from the sea while a portal opened up to my left.  The entire experience was immersive and disorienting in the best of ways.  I cannot wait until this technology is available for public consumption.  The second scenario, that my sibling chose, was space exploration.  Right on the heels of our first exquisite experience we found out just how lame virtual reality can be.  Instead of amazing graphics in an immersive environment we were treated to, essentially, a movie with some motion to give us the illusion of immersion.  I do not regret either scenario, and I am thinking of seeing what kind of funding we can get so that the public library I work at can start teaching some of our kids about virtual reality and immersive experiences.

Our good luck held throughout the MacKing special, where my sibling and I partook of the first (and last) alcohol of our trip.  I had a strawberry daiquiri (because I like them, don’t judge me) and my sibling had a rum and coke.  Apparently the coke was off-brand, however, the experience was well worth everything.  The usher decided to allow my sibling and I to sit at a table rather than the regular chairs that were set up in front of the stage, this was due to how small of a crowd there was.  During the show there were about 5 audience participation experiences, two of which were hilarious.  During a magic trick the participant was asked to sign their name on the card, however the participant signed on the back of the card rather than the face.  This baffled the magician and gave everyone a good laugh.  The second amusing event occurred when the female participant was asked to put 3 one dollar bills in her pocket and had to put them under her bra strap since she did not have any pockets.  The magician had fun retrieving them from there.

Our experiences in Vegas ended in a lot of fun, tons of laughter, and a really long plane ride to Los Angeles.  Since this entry is so very long already I will put off talking about Los Angeles until another time.

Crafting Palooza!

I have about a week and a half off of my most time-consuming job.  It is a contract job, so I will still get paid the same (some of my colleagues took a vacation in January and I filled in so now they are working over this school-break and I get time off).  I will be filling in some of that time picking up extra hours at my public library job, it works out because my supervisor was having trouble with that schedule, but it will still be fewer hours than I normally work.  What will I do with all of that free time?  Clean the house, I don’t think so.  Do some work outside?  Maybe Wednesday when it is supposed to be over 50 and I have the day off.  Will I craft?  YES! All the Crafts!

I have actually taken advantage of the couple of days I had completely off of work to run the dishwasher a couple of times, cook some curry, run a couple of loads of clothes and finish a couple of my projects.  I also asked my sibling (Transgendered, I use neutral terms, I’m not mad at them the way most people think I am when I use the word ‘sibling’) if they would use a crochet shower pouf  if I made a couple out of cotton so that they were washable, the pattern is linked.  I received an enthusiastic yes, they use the plastic kind that you have to throw away right now, and a request for a colorway I do not own.  Their birthday is six weeks away, and I am fairly certain they do not read my blog, and so I let them think that they would be getting a pouf in the color of my choice from what I already own.  I have crocheted two already so that I knew how the pattern worked (plus it is dead simple) and figured out how I would like to construct them.  It turns out I can get two from one ball of Dishy from Knitpicks, and if I fold them over instead of stacking the layers it creates a very puffy pouf, as you can easily see in this photo.  I have also started a third from a new ball, my sibling has housemates and I think if I crochet through my stash I can have poufs for everyone.

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So, what my sibling doesn’t know, is that I also ordered two balls of dishie in the colorway that they requested from Knitpicks.  Of course, they also had some grab bags of sock yarn (two for the price of one) and a couple of sock yarns in Their preferred colorway as well as an offer of a free ball of knitpicks new yarn line Snuggle Puff, which is a cotton nylon blend intended for baby things and other fluffy patterns.  I am trying to not purchase yarn unless I have a pattern already picked out for it, however I have a new sock pattern and if I can manage a pair of socks (or four, if the pattern is as easy as it looks) then I will be quite happy with my Birthday present to my lovely sibling.

I did finish a couple of projects, namely my first Sherlock Square (love it!) and my first quarter Jimmy Beans project, the crochet pillow/floor pouf.  The pouf is a bit lumpy since I closed it off and overstuffed it.  I did have to purchase 4 extra skeins of the Scheepjes yarn, but I have leftovers of that.  I will have to decide if I am going to find a project for them or if I will keep them for possible repairs to the pouf. At present I plan on using the pouf for somewhere that my Cat can sit on while I am working in the detached garage/studio my handyman is working on fixing up.

I had planned on making a flower motif on the top, but quickly changed my mind when I realized that the motif might mean that the cat would not sit on it.  I have also made some progress on the throw together shawl I started using the Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply yarn I purchased.

IMG_2281The photo really doesn’t show things off too well, but since it is lace I don’t think it will look like much until it is blocked.  I finished the first piece of blue and added in 4 rows of black, it is a simple pattern where I knit the three end stitches and do the yarn overs to create the crescent shape then I did a yarn over knit two together all the way across, purled back (in the appropriate increase pattern for the edge).  I did those two rows twice then I started the green yarn and I have completed 4 rows of knit on one side purl on the other.  It is going to take some time since the yarn is so fine, but this will give me time to decide if I want to try some more patterning in the regular sections or just in the black  and brown bands in between.  Which brings up another point.  I do not have nearly enough black for that to be the only transition color between, however I have a ton of brown.  I believe I will us the black at the top of the shawl until it runs out then switch to brown for the rest. I cannot believe I almost forgot a project!

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This is the Morrigan Shawl by Hedgehog Fibers knit in Madelinetosh Prairie in the Aura colorway.  I obtained the yarn at a considerable discount from Jimmy Beans Wool Wool Watchers.  I am not positive I am doing this correctly, however I am enjoying it considerably.  This is simply the ‘set up’ chart, at the writing of this post I have completed row 10 of the repeating chart.  There are 28 rows to that chart and it is to be repeated 4 times before the edging chart is started so I am just starting this pattern but I love it anyway.

So that is all of the projects I am working on right now.  If I get as much as I hope accomplished then there will be a mid-week update, if not then remember to Live a Life a Little More Abstract until next week!