Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shared Knitting and New Friends

A couple weekends ago, I found myself waiting for my sons to finish up with Junior Nordic and I was without a knitting project. I noticed a woman knitting and made a comment about forgetting mine. To which she offered me an extra knitting project of hers to knit. Normally I would thank someone and decline, but that day I was feeling adventurous and went for it.

We started talking and it turns out that we had much in common, besides knitting. We both are bikers (mtn bikers) and have a mutual friend, Rose. Her child went to the same elementary school as mine are attending. She is the maker of some beautiful quilts that were used at our school as fundraisers for Malawi Village School and the cards I used for thank you's were made by her.

The knitting project I worked on was a lot of fun and, my new friend, Tina, emailed me the pattern so I could start knitting one myself. The pattern is the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf by Karen Baumer. If you're signed up for Ravelry here's a link to some finished scarfs.

I'm using Noro Silk Garden which is a joy to knit with. I've silk blends a few times and each time I've really enjoyed how it feels on the needles. Maybe it's the slight elasticity the yarn has. My only concern is that I occasionally find a grass fiber in the yarn that I pull out.

I find this pattern to be an easy "take along" project. It's difficult to lose your place, and, therefore, can be stopped at any point with no fear of where you left off.

Because of my new friend, Tina, I've decided to always carry a second project with me so I can "pay it forward" and, maybe, make more new friend in the process.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inauguration Day-What a Wild Journey to such a Historic Moment

The Friday before the Inauguration, I received an email that I had two Inauguration tickets waiting for me at Senator Lisa Murkowski's Office. I picked them up first thing on Monday at her office and discovered I had Silver Tickets. Tried to get one more for my mother but no luck there.

The next am we left our hotel at around 6:30, thinking we'd jump on the Metro, yeah it'd be a little crowded but we'll just wait a few trains and get on.

My mother decided to head toward the back of the mall to watch from there and we both felt she'd be pretty safe by herself doing so. There was so much security around the whole week that we never once worried about walking around DC by ourselves at night. Between the all the police, military and guys in suits talking in there sleeves, we knew she'd have no problems.

Vince and I headed to our Subway stop only to discover it was an exit only stop for the day, but no one was getting off, by the look of the station.

So we walked the extra couple of blocks to the station, including getting a little lost on the way, that was a "on" location. Got inside, walked down the steps and didn't see many people. I said to Vince "Wow, this shouldn't be too bad", when a train pulled up and we were actually too far down the station to load up. Looked down the station and noticed a lot of people waiting to get on where the train actually stops. Then I noticed as the train went by, that it was very very full. There was no way this CA/AK girl was going to be able to elbow her way on with her son.

Looked at the walking map an officer had given us and told Vince we were going to walk. After asking for directions several times, and using my iPhone, we finally figured out how to get to the tunnel we would need to walk through to get to the silver gate.

When we got to the tunnel, we were turned around because it was too crowded with people. We were detoured around the block, and got stuck for a while behind people who were not moving. They were all excited about some celebrity and taking pictures. Have no idea who it was, could of cared less, unless it was George Clooney looking for me, we had a mission. Ended up having to walk through some bushes with a very nice family who also had silver tickets and we all managed to find another on/off ramp into the tunnel (395).

All we could see where heads bobbing along as we headed down into the tunnel and, honestly, I was getting a little nervous as we headed further and further into the tunnel. There were so many people, you couldn't tell if they were moving or not moving, it was just one large mass of heads. Would we get stuck like in the other tunnel? Would the people behind us stop if we get stopped? Is this going to be like one of those World Cup Soccer matches where people panic and trample over each other to get out? No it wasn't. Everyone though stressed, was happy and cordial.

Then, the tunnel widened up o four lanes and we were all together breathing a sigh of relief. Then someone shouted "O" and we all responded "Bama" and that continued on for a few rounds until we saw daylight. "

Gave Vince a huge hug and we headed to the off ramp to 3rd Avenue and the Silver Gate. So did most everyone else. We were directed to the silver line, which wound around and around buildings and finally got to the end of the line. Oh happy days. A nice orderly line to stand in to wait for the gate to open.
It was 8:45am by the time we found the end of the line.

I had noticed the line didn't appear to be moving as we walked and walked and walked to the end of the line. Turns out the gates did not open until 9am. Then, at 9 am the line started to steadily move. Then, the strangest thing happened the line dissolved and there was no line to follow, just a huge mass of people all wondering where the line had gone or heading toward where the gate was. Needless to say, the nice orderly line was now a mass of thousands trying to all funnel there way to Silver Gate Security area.

However, in addition to loss of an orderly line inside, we had lots of people standing in our way because this was a great spot to see the Inauguration for non-ticket holders. So once again, we were pushing our way through. Vince had become very good at getting through the crowds and we kept our arms locked together and finally made it through. Good Boy!

We ended up settling in near the back of the Silver Section along with some new friends and we were able to watch the Inauguration easily on the Jumbotron and see the tiny people up on the Capitol at the same time.

What a thrill to be a part of this. A real historic moment in US history. Plus, this was the first campaign that I tried to do more than voting for a candidate.

Brought to tear a few times. Here's a few of my favorite pictures including the one of Bush flying away on his way to Texas. (Posted some at Facebook and on Flickr)How does that man sleep at night knowing his bad decisions have caused so many deaths? Whether we're talking about the 2 wars he has us in or his mis-handling of Katrina.
It was so nice to get to see him fly away. And, yes, to see Dick in a wheel chair was just the icing on the cake. People were singing as the helicopter left "Na,na, nana,hey,hey, good bye". Others expressed themselves with hand gestures. We opted to just wave good bye.

Now leaving, we decide to hang back for a while and let the mass leave first. Neither Vince or I were cold, dressed appropriately for Alaska-like weather, nor were we hungry (brough snacks along), so we watched and waited for the crowds to thin out.

Quite a few people decided they didn't want to go through the bottlenecked area again on the way out and with a little teamwork, they proceeded to tear down a bunch of the fencing that had us all corralled inside.

Our new friends Jason and Sequoia mentioned that the museums were open and we were right by the National Native American Museum. We decided to pop in there once the crowds thinned out. Lot's of tired, cold and hungry people inside. We tried to look at some exhibits, but it was a little too crowded to walk through the museum. People were everywhere sitting on the American in full head-dress but didn't really get to ask him any questions, so not sure who he's peoples are. Living here I've learned about Alaskan Native People, only know little bits and pieces about lower 48 Native People. Will have to go back and spend time there on another trip.

I did over hear a management person talking to staff about how much food they had and it seems they were anticipating large crowds inside the museums. We, however, decided it was time to head back through the tunnel the way we came and get back to our hotel. The crowds were gone and we had a long pleasant trip back. So many happy people.

My mother had a slightly less epic journey, made many new friends and ended up exactly where she'd hoped to watch, by the Washington Monument. Even beat us back to the hotel