Monday, January 7, 2013

What I learned on my winter vacation

You learn so much when you go someplace else, even if it's just an afternoon in a museum.  Spend two days in another country and whoa, you are gonna get new ideas and insights.


1/ Handknit socks love a vacation too (pictured here on the mosaic floor of my fancy hotel room's bathroom. remind you of wavy cables?)

But heavy handknit socks in insulated boots: not ideal if you're spending a lot of your walking time indoors.  Thinner handknit socks next time.

2/ It's totally okay to bring knitting on a plane.  The lady ahead of me and across the aisle worked on what I think was a sweater on a circular needle for quite a lot of the time (I was too shy to ask about it) and I was envious of its calming properties... until I realized my palms never got dry enough to allow me to knit.  Just holding onto the Magical Hat, I worried it would felt in my hands, I was so nervous.

3/ Chicago is a knitting city.  I didn't see anybody actively knitting there, but the handknit items were legion and well-displayed on people's heads and necks.  I noticed a lot of variations on Caliometry in particular.

Luxurious Home

1/ Hotels don't rely on fancy comforters and pretty shams to make a gorgeous-looking bed any more, so how come we have to?  You can get a fluffy, cosy sleep with most of two complementary sets of sheets and the following bed-making steps:

put fitted sheet onto mattress

lay flat sheet #1 over fitted sheet

set duvet (or blankets or comforter) over flat sheet #1, leaving maybe a 6-10" gap from top of duvet to top of sheet

set flat sheet #2 over duvet, lining up top with top of flat sheet #1

tuck ends of both sheets plus duvet under the mattress

fold top of sheet #2 downward over top of duvet

fold top of sheet #1 down over top of duvet and the fold of sheet #2

place pillows, previously tucked into the cases from both sheet sets, onto head of bed.

(sorry no pictures... trust me, they would be boring anyway.  the finished product is totally comfy though and just as easy to put back together in the morning as a duvet in a 'real' cover.)

2/ Towels: if you buy new ones soon after the old ones get frayed instead of waiting four years because towels are boring to shop for and the current supply is still perfectly functional in spite of the frays, however dramatic they may become especially after a vigorous wash cycle, your bathroom will look more luxurious than mine.  Except that mine is now looking pretty awesome and freshened-up because the ones at the hotel inspired me to dip into the New Yarn funds and revamp at home.

Fearless Flying

1/ A small decaf latte poured instantly via machine into a perfectly sweet white cup and saucer and then drinking it in a well-appointed lounge is astonishingly comforting before a scary flight.  Thank you, Porter Airlines.

2/ Getting onto a very small plane is a good way to determine whether claustrophobia is the source of your fear of flying.  Thank you again, Porter Airlines.  (Holy crow, those prop planes are small.  Set up with roomy seating, and super-well cleaned, and staffed by cheery people bearing snacks, but small.) (Thankfully, it turns out my problem isn't claustrophobia.)

3/ If your plan for not causing a scene during takeoff involves escaping into a book between relaxation and deep breathing exercises, bring one that's printed on paper.  E-readers aren't allowed till after the seatbelt sign goes off.

4/ The Economist: not recommended for reading during a scary takeoff, however much better it is than nothing at all.  (I didn't cause a scene so I guess the deep breathing stuff works.)


1/ You can't truly appreciate the scale of a U-boat till you walk alongside one.  and wow, is it worth appreciating.   (there's an Enigma machine at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, too.)

2/ The smile value of a giant reflective bean is impossible to measure.

Even on a cloudy day, everybody I saw at the Cloud Gate in Millenium Park: totally giggly.  Me too!

Okay, it's time for me to start a Real Day, as opposed to another Holiday Day, most of which started a lot later than right now and had more movies in them than this one is likely to, sigh.  Where am I going to fit in the knitting without movies??  Hope you find time for some, especially if I don't.  See you tomorrow, hopefully with some sort of knitting progress report.

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