Friday, April 13, 2012

Vacation brain

You guys, I'm thisclose to being out of the office for 2 1/2 weeks!!! It's true that the first half-week is a work-related conference where I'm going to do a lot of standing, acting on my best behavior, and tons and tons of small-talking. But then on Wednesday evening I will be FREE.

I head to Germany on Thursday night, and have a rail pass for Germany and the Benelux countries. Belgium is going to HAPPEN! I've had a fair amount of Belgian beer exposure thanks to a local specialty pub, but I'm still excited to drink a dubbel in Bruges! I also hope to visit Amsterdam - I'll be there for the bicycles and canals, thanks - and of course want to poke around Germany a bit. It would be cool to set foot in Luxembourg since I have the pass and am unlikely to be there again... but we'll see if it fits.

The real fun has been packing for the trip: I'm getting four days of work-clothes (which I'll send home with a coworker) + 14 days of travel clothes into a backpack-style carry-on. I admit it's fairly bursting right now, but I'll cut the volume in half when I can send home the work gear, leaving me a bag that will be not-hard to haul. It's coming in under 20 pounds right now, I think, and that includes my day bag with travel books.

What I'm bringing for work
- 1 pair pants, 1 skirt, 1 suit jacket
- 2 pairs shoes, neither of which are particularly comfortable or wonderful for standing around in.
- 1 3/4-sleeve ribbed top (black); 1 lightweight long-sleeve shirt (purple). Both of these will continue on the trip.
- 1 cowl-neck top
- 1 sparkly wrap thing for the evening reception
- 1 scoop-neck tank top to go with wrap & skirt
- a small duffel bag to send all that home in when I'm done (except the two shirts that are continuing on with me)

What I'm bringing to Europe (including what I'll wear on the plane):
- 2 pairs pants: jeans and khakis
- 2 pairs shoes:  Keens, and Merrells
- warmth: a rain jacket and a zip-up lightweight wool sweater, hat and fingerless mitts, scarf/wrappy thing
- 4 tops: 2 long-sleeve lightweight wool shirts (dark purple and turquoise); 1 3/4-sleeve ribbed top (black); 1 lightweight long-sleeve shirt (purple).

for both parts of the trip: 
- pajamas: t-shirt & shorts
- miscellaneous toiletries, socks, etc.
- camera; ipod touch; cell phone (to be stored away until I return to the states); chargers & a plug adapter; two guidebooks; passport & rail pass; knitting project.

I am not sure how much knitting I'll do, but after having to make an emergency run from a bluegrass fest so I had some knitting on hand, I'd rather not travel empty-handed again! I have music, podcasts, and several books on my ipod touch, so I don't need to bring other entertainment. If it were to get lost or broken I'd be really upset but I could deal... I guess. 

If I get heartily sick of my belongings, I can jettison the pajama top (on the last day of the trip, that is!) since it's an ancient ratty t-shirt; my Keens are also nearing the end of their life and they can go too. They're not at the point of being uncomfortable or I wouldn't bring them, but the Merrells I bought were intended to replace them anyway. I think it's important to have a change of shoes, which is why I'm bringing the Keens at all. There's not much else that I would get rid of! I could MAYBE pare my packing by another shirt, but I'm okay with wearing one and packing three. I'll have access to laundry at least once, possibly twice, and could probably get by without doing it (absent any horrible spills).

You can possibly guess how productive my last day in the office is.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sweater: finished!

I should've gotten a standing shot. It fits great!
Pattern: Aidez
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool, bulky on size 10 needles. It took EXACTLY 3 hanks, I had like a gram or so left (and an entire bonus hank I don't know what to do with but can't return).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Travelly goodness

I spent last weekend in Portland seeing good friends, hugging cute kids, dying Easter eggs, eating yummy food, and getting lots of fresh air. It was so lovely!
I'm getting semi used to my new camera. Its colors seem more saturated than my old camera, which maybe isn't a bad thing but does strike my eye a bit harshly. I think its red tones are even more vivid - check this one out:
Am I nuts?

Also, I really have to go over the instructions so I can use the macro mode better - I was having trouble getting a flower shot this weekend. I loathe that instructions are now on cd - I want a BOOK I can carry around and flip through at my leisure. sheesh.

Anyway, I'm off for more awesome travel soon, so I really better get on that.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Calendar: April

My apartment is in the back of my building and faces a hillside covered with trees and shrubbery. It makes for a pretty lovely view, especially when the plum trees are in bloom.
I confess I lived here a few years before I realized it was plum trees back there, and I have yet to actually harvest and use them! They are tiny; my friend and I thought they were some overgrown cherry before realizing they were in fact wee little plums.

Many years ago a coworker brought in a bud vase like the one in the picture above. Turns out it's from a particularly nice balsamic vinegar sold at Trader Joe's. I have an apple juice jar I like to use as well...when I remember to have flowers!