Friday, February 29, 2008

53. The post office is drinking my cocoa

That is the only thing I can figure. My cocoa swap partner lives in Ireland. And she received her package - yeah! My pal lives in the US. She mailed the package to me several weeks ago. And it has not arrived still! All I can figure is that some postal worker somewhere is enjoying my goodies. I keep putting off buying more cocoa. I think I'm going to give in today and buy some. Maybe that will bring my package?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

52. This was so fast

I got the wild idea one night that I wanted to make a Clapotis. I know that I am only another in a long parade of people to say this, but Kate Gilbert is genius. Bird in Hand mittens anyone? And while the clapotis pattern is from 2004, there is a wonderfully active group on Ravelry. When I first saw the pattern, i wasn't interested. Obviously. I mean, it did take me several years before I got around to knitting one.

But I do truly understand why this is such a popular pattern. Earlier today, I ordered yarn for my second, larger clapotis. I can't wait for the yarn to get here! Mine is a bit smaller than the pattern. I had two skeins of The Great Adirondack Yarn Company yarn Nassau in the Maple leaf color. And I only have a tiny nubbin left over. There is a ton of information in the Ravelry group to help you with yardage for other yarns (and yarn amounts) which was a huge help. I did one less increase section than the pattern called for and only nine "straight" sections before the decrease. Even though this is a silk and cotton blend, I am going to try blocking it out a bit bigger, so the whole picture will just have to wait! But I'll confess to wearing it ever since I wove in the ends! For now, this is the yarn....

I'll try to get a better lit picture next time. The colors are very soft. And a bit out of my usual color range. But the yarn was (loudly) calling my name. At $35 a skein, I thought it a tremendous splurge to buy two skeins. I just bought four skeins of Misti hand dyed alpaca for my next (larger) clapotis. For less money. Hmm....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

51. Bloggers have said it before

But this will be my first time to say it. The knit blog world is a wonderful place. I was left a comment on the previous post. Which has led to a copy of Paton's Street Smart booklet being ordered and on its way to my home already. What a wonderful thing.

Thank you very much, Kathy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

50. Talk about a day late!

Just my luck. When the pattern was everywhere, I was on such an exceptionally tight budget that I couldn't afford to buy the Patons Street Smart booklet. Forget the yarn, not even the pattern. Now that the Must Have cardigan is popping up all over blogland again (and I can afford pattern and yarn), the pattern is not to be found.
The Yarn Harlot just updated her tour page. I live roughly two hours away from Philadelphia. She will be in Philly on May 18. Me? I'll be in Portland, OR. She will be in Portland on April 22. I will be here. She will be in Salt Lake City on May 4th. I will not be in Salt Lake City until May 6th. I am sure that on the 4th, I will be busy driving to SLC.
If the fates come into alignment (yeah. did you read the above paragraph??), maybe I can go to WEBS in Northhampton, MA on April 27. But maybe seeing her in London on Sep 6th would work.

Monday, February 25, 2008

49. Where I've Been!

My week in (brief!) review:

1. Went to Virginia.
2. Stayed in horrid hotel.
3. No internet - the access card didn't work and neither did the tech support.
4. Got sick.
5. Had dinner with my sister-in-law and nephews. Seven and ten - great ages!
6. Had breakfast with a wonderful friend and her husband. Not seven and ten, but also great ages!
7. Had fun working at a quilt show.
8. Had breakfast in VA - it was warm, sunny and green. Arrived home in PA to snow on the ground and cold.
Now I'm off to send a few emails. One to the hotel chain that gave such lousy service and one to a restaurant chain that - well, gave such lousy food.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

48. Weekly topics

I'm behind on my weekly topics for the Defeat the Winter Doldrums dishcloth swap. Since I've kept up with all the topics, I don't want to flake now, so here goes....

Week 4: How do we get rid of our winter doldrums?....I'm usually a pretty upbeat sort of person. But those natural light bulbs sure are a help. I'm usually a stickler about turning off lights, but occasionally I have been known to leave a few extra lights burning when it seems espeically gloomy. And sometimes, I just have to force myself to go do something. Rather like right now - I need to be in the basement working!

Week 5's topic is much more interesting to me.

If money were no object, and the day was just perfect - not to hot, not too cold, sun shining, slight breeze - how would you spend a perfect day out that had been given to you in the middle of a cold and blustery winter?

Oh, definately outside. Since money is not an object, then place is no object either. My first thought was oceanside. I absolutely love the water. I don't really need to be actually "in" the water either. Being near water is soothing to me. Must be the Aquarius coming out. But mountains would work too. Or Rome! A walk along the streets, lunch from a sidewalk vendor, a museum or church tour. Knitting at a table outside of a cafe. Did you know that in Italy there are two prices for each item? One price if you are going to eat/drink the item at the counter or to go, and a second (higher) price if you are going to sit at a table? No matter. Bob is a great companion and he would also enjoy the walking, touring, and outside cafe sitting. He'd just leave the knitting to me though. I'd have lunch sitting on the steps around the Trevi Fountain. When I was there, it was amazing the variety of people having lunch there! School kids, young professionals, and military!

Ok - I've put this off quite long enough. I'm off to change my clothes and head into the basement for a bit of work. I'm leaving Wed morning to work at a quilt show in VA. Come see me at the Hampton Coliseum. I'll be working for Patchwork Plus in booth 805 (I think!).

47. A whale of a pattern!

And an amazing young lady.
Oh, my! Now, I don't remember how I first found Hannah's blog. Her posts are witty and intelligent. Written in a style that I aspire to. She has a great command of the English language and her writing style is fresh and intelligent. She has published a vegan dessert book. She posts vegan recipes (which I am not, but they still sound good), wonderful photography and cute crochet patterns. If you scroll down to the Feb 7th post, you will see a two year old photograph of this author. This wonderful young woman is 19. Watch out world, because she seems to be a force to be reckoned with. She seems to have a personal style that says she truly marches to the beat of her own drummer - and likes it. Please know that I mean all of this in a very complimentary way. I wish I was as erudite and self-confident when I was her age.
But this Ode to a Young Woman came into being today because of a whale. I will not post a picture of her whale. And mine is still only half a whale. But if you read nothing else of her blog, check out this post!

Now, I probably should at least go leave her a message letting her know that she has an admirer. Not a wierd creepy stalker.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

46. The kindness of strangers

As you may have read recently, I've joined several swaps at the same time. Something I don't usually do, but one is a mitten swap - not too strenuous - and the other two are easy. I've enjoyed getting things ready (and mailing out) for my cocoa swap partner and I've knit the dishcloths for my swap pal.

One of the swap pals seems to be a real sweetie. Now, these are all anonymous swaps, so I won't know who these people are until I get the package. But MZ leaves me comments all the time! And I don't mean in a weird stalker way, but in a "wow, isn't that neat!" way. I'm such a small tadpole in the knitblog world, that a single comment is a big deal.
I'm looking forward to finding out who you are "in real life!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

45. Interweave Knits Spring review

I've been seeing a lot of chatter about the Spring issue of Interweave Knits. And most of the comments I've read have not been complimentary. While at the book store yesterday, I looked through a copy. And I can understand what everyone has been complaining about. Most of these sweaters would look great - if you were a slightly 20-something and very thin. There is at least one sweater that I just can't understand why anyone bothered. But that's personal, and on the right person, the sweater would probably (maybe? anyway...) be fabulous.
Central Park Hoodie has been a wildly popular pattern. So popular in fact, that Knitting Daily (part of Interweave Press) has released the CPH as an individual pattern for sale. In expanded sizing up to a 52. So obviously, the people at IP has some idea of who their demographic is. So while the target audience for this issue seems to be quite young (and slim) they do seem to understand that is not the only people reading their magazine. So I really don't understand that part. Although to be fair about the sizing, there is at least one pattern that goes up to a 48" bust - a spaghetti strap tank top. Hmmm.....Oh, wait. Most of the patterns do seem to be written in larger sizes (most I checked went into the 47/48 - 50/52" size). I can't wait for Knitting Daily to publish their edition where they show the sample sweaters on different models. What I would really like to see is endowed knitters in these garments knit to their size. Maybe I'm way off base here, and I'd love to be proved wrong.
But I do have positive things to say after all that. Anne Hanson of Knitspot fame has a lovely stole published in this issue. I totally enjoy Anne's blog. Her designs are fantastic and she can make her yarn just sing. There is another stole and an interesting sock pattern in this issue. Ok, that's three attractive patterns for the price of one. Not too shabby. The Yarn Review is about six brands of linen yarn. I've never used any, so this is of interest. To round out the issue, there is an article about stitch dictionarys that are not in the English language (including the wildly popular Japanese stitch books), a review of a silk and wool blend yarn, and an article by Veronik Avery on finishing details. I haven't read the article (I did actually buy the issue after all that complaining way above. For the reasons in this paragraph.) yet, but wonderful finishing is a skill I think we would all love to acquire.

I've obviously left out many things in this issue. I really like many of the ads! Ravelry is mentioned (actually, it has its own article which seems much better than a "mention"). I think if I had been a subscriber, I would have been initially very disappointed in this issue. And please remember, this is my personal opinion and I am well aware that this review is neither going to increase or decrease sales for Interweave Press. But I'm not a subscriber so I had time to look through the issue and think about what is within the pages. And while I may never understand the "why" behind several patterns, I willingly forked over the cold hard cash to buy it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

44. Blind Date for Valentine's!

I had a blind date for Valentine's! And it was totally a set-up since I didn't know the person was going to be there. We sat and talked for the longest time. I feel like we really made a connection and we'll be getting together again soon.
Oh, did I forget to mention? My "date" on Valentine's was for a Sit & Knit at the local book store! Absolutely nothing for my sweetheart to be worried about. InsanKnitty had sent me an email earlier in the week about meeting Thurs. And she connected with Ann (Blog-free. To roughly quote Ann, she's blog free so she has the time to read our blogs!) - probably on ravelry? - who joined us. Next time, we need to either meet some place with decent, affordable food for lunch, or start after lunch time. Michelle got the first phone call to join her sweetie for lunch, and Bob's phone call was not too long after. But without the distraction of growling stomachs, I could have sat and chat and knit away the day with new friends. It was a totally delightful Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

43. Unintended knitting

Without meaning to, I've almost finished the Bird in Hand mittens! As you may have noticed in previous posts, I wasn't very excited about my mitten knitting. But it was the only project in my bag, I kept working on them. And before I knew it, I had this:I've sewn up both hems and finished one thumb! I had a thumb delay since I was traveling and and didn't have the right size dpn's with me. But I have the second thumb on the dpn's and it's ready to go.

Size has been an issue for me the whole time. I mean, look at this!
My partner's hands are (obviously) bigger than mine. I've been worried about fit the whole time. Of course, it doesn't matter what pattern I use, that would still be a concern. I've never done any stranded knitting before. So I did a lot of practice/swatching. And then I got worried that I'd run out of the brown yarn! So as a "design" feature, the two hems are different. Not sure the extra five rows really make a difference - but if you are running low, every little bit helps.
Not sure if you can tell the difference between the practically new navy blue and the partial skein of brown. But that is all of the green I have left. Of course, I only have one thumb left to knit, so most of that green will be left.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

42. 2-4 inches

Now, I didn't take a ruler outside or anything. And it really depended upon which station you listened to what the weather forecast was. Some said 1-3" - some 2" - 4" - and one even said 4" - 6". The last seems to have been the most accurate. As you can see by the picture, it sure wasn't done snowing then either! At some point, it is supposed to turn into sleet and then rain. Since the temp all day has hovered right around 20*F, it will have quite a ways to go before we will see rain.

And for the first time in two years, this happened:
We just haven't had enough snow the last few years (at one time) to justify bringing out the snowblower. But Bob decided to bring it out tonight. Timing worked out good. There is an older woman down the street. As far as I can tell, she lives alone. So her drive got taken care of tonight too. Dear woman - asked how much she owed, and Bob gently laughed. Now, in the picture, Bob is actually blowing snow off of the road. The plow drivers aren't the best around here. Which is exceptionally polite on my part. The intent was that if Bob took out a swipe of the road, the plow driver wouldn't be as able to plow in our driveway. Well, would you believe that his second trip down our street, he actually veered onto our side of the road so that the drive would be plowed in!!! Bob was outside and called him on it. The guy apologised and said he didn't mean to. Yeah - he actually had to change lanes to accomplish that, but it was an accident. He offered to come back tomorrow to help if we were still having problems with our driveway entrance.

Monday, February 11, 2008

41. I got nothing - except knit cupcakes

Blech. I must lead the most boring life in the universe right now. Although once we get into quilt show season, there won't be enough hours in the day. So I'd really better enjoy this while it lasts!
Random A: I've been doing a bit of reading. Right now, I'm reading one of W.E.B. Griffin's series. I started to read the newest series - Presidential Agent series. But while the store had books 1, 3 and the newest 4, it obviously didn't have volume 2. Blech. So I started reading the Marine Corps series. And while I actually think I might have read at least part of this series before, I don't remember a darn thing about the books! Which isn't meant as a bad review - I probably read them 20 years ago when the books first came out. Griffin's books are the only military history books I've ever read. And I do actually enjoy them. I am so entirely disgusted with my retired USMC ex husband, that I was not (at first) willing to read this series. Guilt by association and all that. But it was the series that the store had the most of, so I started. Book 1 starts mid-late 1920's in China. I just finished Book 3 (Counter Attack) which takes me into WWII. Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands are at play here. And if you know absolutely anything about Marine Corps history (or WWII for that matter), you will know how very important those islands were. W.E.B. Griffin does an excellent job of weaving a novel through accurate historical facts.
Random B: I still haven't mailed off my Cocoa Swap package. There is a hold up with one of the swap requirements and I just haven't gotten that part taken care of yet. Yikes.
Random C: and here is where the cupcakes come in! While I have not knit any of them myself, I think the knit cupcakes I've seen are absolutely adorable. While checking out Yarn Miracle's blog today, I saw the cutest cupcake that she just made for her great-grandmother - who has given up all sweets for Lent. She used what looks like fun fur for the frosting - and it is very cute. The link she included is more of a "plain vanilla" cupcake. BUT there are links there to dozens of other cupcakes! I've never knit food. But if I was going to start, cupcakes would be an ideal place to begin.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

40. Sunday sky

My Sunday sky was quite varied. It went (unfortunately on a very regular basis) from this:

Isn't that sky gorgeous! What a vivid blue. And with the added attraction of a fluffy cloud to help off-set that stunning blue. But give it a few minutes and it looked like this:

Actually, that is very mild - there is still a hint of light up there. Within minutes, the weather would change to white-out conditions with winds up to 30 mph. And I don't mean gusts either - it was sustained wind. Quite miserable. And then the sun would come out again. Only to repeat itself. Over and over.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

39. The effects of my Saturday Sky

I didn't bother taking a picture of my Saturday sky. It was flat grey and unappealing. But the above picture is the result of that sky. A bit of snow (and ice) left behind by that flat grey sky.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

37. This is wierd.

Why does the blog post date and time on some of my posts, but not on others? I wonder if it is based on the day I write the post? One of these days, I know someone who is going to teach me how to add buttons to the sidebar. I need to ask her about this too!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

36. Owls Part 2

Yesterday, we left our hero while he was off getting stuffed. Let's see if we can resume our story!

After stuffing, draw up the gathering stitches. I took a few stitches across the opening and ended up with a tightly gathered bottom. Not at all like my rather fluffy bottom!

Next, I measured his bottom. No, you don't get to see that! Think how you would feel if there were pictures all over the internet of your bottom being measured. Humph. So I only had some thin cardboard - like a cereal box weight. Since it was so thin, I used two circles. I then cut a circle of wool about twice the size of the cardboard. Sew a running stitch around the edge and pull up the gathers.

Here's the little owl and his gathered bottom waiting to be sewn together. I used mattress stitch and even with my highly contrasting thread (pearl cotton once again), you can't see any of the stitches.

And the completed (adorable) owl picture will have to wait until tomorrow! I'm sorry - but the picture came out really fuzzy. And I didn't know that until it was much too late (read dark) to get a decent picture. But he's cute enough to wait for, that's for darned sure. This owl is very easy to make. He goes together very quickly. I completely understand why Moonstitches made a whole flock of them. This little guy is heading off to my Cocoa swap partner. Part of the swap is to send along a "blah buster buddy" that we have made. If this little guy cheers up my partner nearly as much as he has cheered me up, he has done his job!

35. Owls are too cute!

And they're awfully easy to make, too! Like so many people, I fell in love with this owl (scroll down to the Jan 31 entry). And there are links posted. So I clicked my way over here and used this Tutowlrial. And I used this pattern. Moonstitches said her pieces are about 7mm and 10mm, so I used my handy, dandy copier and enlarged the pattern to about that size.

First step -
is to remove all the detrius that has accumulated on your sewing table since you last sat down to sew. See the presser foot there on the left? That is to a Bernina. The machine in the table? Not a Bernina - that foot obviously does no good there. But you'll notice the cut out pieces there.

2. Sew one side of the "belly" to the rest of your owl.

3. Sew the second side and then the angled piece along the top. I (being the fantastic quilter that I am) forgot to add a seam allowance to the pattern pieces. So I used a small (very scant 1/4") seam allowance. I didn't need to clip the curved pieces - or trim the point.

4. After turning right side out, I turned it again, pressed the seam allowances towards the center, then turned again. Fold down the peak, and stitch a beak with decorative thread. I used pearl cotton. I didn't have a button jar handy, so I opened up a box with beads to select eyes. And found the two most perfect buttons!

5. After sewing a beak, I sewed the on the eyes. I ran a line of running stitches around the open end, and then stuffed Owlie.

6. Loading pictures tonight is very difficult! Blogger is not cooperating, that's for sure. Ok - I give up for now. I'll try posting the rest tomorrow. Ahh....don't you just love suspense!

Monday, February 4, 2008

35. Dishcloth knitting stash

This was more fun than I thought it would be! Thanks, hostesses! Our topic this week was to flash a pic of our dishcloth knitting stash - plus our fav notions, etc. Well, I don't necessarily have a fav notion. But you'll notice Mason-Dixon knitting in the back corner. And a new Sugar & Cream dishcloth booklet I just bought. Haven't used any of the patterns yet, but it seemed to have some good ones. And I've used Michelle's free HP dishcloth patterns. Those are very well written and made a wonderful gift. The only cotton yarn in my stash that is not Peaches & Creme or Sugar & Creme was from a swap pal. I've used some of the yarn for a gift - made a washcloth that I gave to my aunt. And there is some new (to me) Patons "Grace" up front and center. It is a mercerized cotton that I'd like to try for washcloths.I will confess that I have made a copy of the Ball-Band dishcloth pattern from the book. I keep it in my notions pouch in my knitting bag! But I didn't want to post a copy - at least this way, everyone can see that I have purchased the book and didn't illegally copy the pattern. And remember, it's called the "Ball-band" dishcloth pattern for a reason - the pattern can be found on the back of the Peaches & Creme cotton skeins.

Do you see that crochet hook sticking out of the tan yarn in front? No? How about now -

Well....I have absolutely no idea why the hook is like that. It was exactly like that when I pulled the yarn out of the bag. Now, that's a pretty hefty hook, and I have no earthly idea what I was using it for. But I thought it deserved it's moment to shine - so to speak - and left it alone.

34. Not feeling the love

I am frustrated. And really not feeling the love. And disappointed because of it. Look at this!

The beginning of my Bird in Hand mitten. Well, not really the beginning - or "my" mitten. This mitten is for my swap partner. And this is my first time to knit a stranded color design. And I'm not doing too shabby, if I say so myself. Here's a picture of the inside of the mitten -
And especially for a first piece, that's pretty good. I truly drool over color work. I want to knit my own Dale of Norway Olympic sweater. Depending on what the design for the next Olympics look like, I'll make up my mind then. And the Bohus sweaters I've seen are fantastic. The designs I see just make me swoon. And yet. Not feeling the love. Is it my frustration with a technique new to me? Is it this particular design? And do I finish this pair of mittens???

If I decide not to finish this pair of mittens for my partner, there is no reason not to completely frog this. My partner's hands are larger than mine, so the mitten would never get any use. It seems a shame (and a waste) to just cut the yarn and throw away the partial mitten.
And I'm selfish! I am really hoping for something similar from my partner. Of the people in the mitten swap that have posted pictures, all of the designs are truly lovely works of art. And stranded color designs. So how on earth could I send anything less than what I want to my own partner?
I'm using Cascade 220 for these mittens. And while it comes in a staggering array of colors, a shop can only carry so many of them. And while my partner didn't come out and say that she would love mittens from colors that could be named "sage" and "tobacco," I still think she would like these colors.
But I do have another skein of Cascade 220. In a very nice navy blue. And an alternate mitten pattern that is starting to become more attractive. I'd love some feedback, so I'm going to ask (beg?) on the mitten swap blog for someone else's opinions.
edited to add: I said above that I'm hoping to get something similar (color work) from my pal, but thought I'd better explain that. My pal has been great about staying in touch with me. And she's also thinking about frogging and starting over - yikes! But I only said I was hoping for something similar because it's something I don't have. I also don't have cabled or striped mittens (or stranded, etc, etc.) and those would be equally appreciated. I feel like I stuck my foot in my mouth pretty far - hope I've been able to at least partially extract said foot from mouth!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

34. Slip sliding away

See that up there? Looks like perfectly innocent footprints in the snow, doesn't it? Well, let me be the first to tell you - it's not. That my friends, is a good solid quarter inch of ice under the teeniest dusting of snow. Guess what I get to do? Cause that nice coating of ice is down my steps and all along the sidewalk of course.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

33. Silent Poetry Day!

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
- Emily Dickinson 1836-1886, Amherst, MA

Friday, February 1, 2008

32. Cocoa swap topic 4

This week's topic is about our favorite vacation. Well, hands down, it would be my trip to Italy. One year, my aunt decided to (finally) go to Italy. And not only took her two children (we were all adults youngest about 35), but offered to take my sister and I. One of my cousins, Phil, had been to Italy several times and he was a very large help. Helped us learn how to get around, find a place to stay, etc.
We had no itinerary. No timeframe - other than when we had to return home. And it was absolutely marvelous. We visited every church, cathedral and museum we could find. Ate from street vendors, sidewalk cafes, tiny, tiny restaurants and had amazing food the entire time.
We were awed by everything. The arcetecture (ok. spell check is not helping. I know it's not spelled correctly, but darn if I can find out the right way.) was phenominal. Think of the assets designers have today - and none of that was available. We stood outside of the Coliseum and were awed. Talked about Audrey Hepburn while sitting next to the Trevi Fountain. And were left speechless by the Sistene Chapel.

I had pasta for dinner every night. I had a different dish everynight, and not once did I have marinara sauce. Breakfast was a different story though. In all of the different cities we went to, we never found an American type breakfast. The pensiones offered toast and plain yogurt. Which wasn't quite what we were looking for! And the coffee.....ahhh, it just doesn't get any better.

We stayed in a pensione every night except one. And the bathrooms were always shared - a bathroom in the hall for each "wing" of the home. Well, it was truly a different experience. The shower was not like an American shower. Basically, the whole room - floor, walls, ceiling - was ceramic tile. The shower head was near one end of the room, the drain was in the floor, with the sink and commode across the room! You had to be very careful where you put your towel and change of clothes so that everything stayed dry!

We almost always used public transportation. I can remember taking a taxi twice. You buy your bus tickets in the tobacco shop! I don't remember where I bought my subway ticket - I think it was while I was still at the airport. And we all had rail passes for the train.

The fashion sense was incredible! I took a picture of three generations of women - grandma about 50, daughter, and granddaughter about 3 - all dressed "to the nines." Textured hose were very common. We did find a hosiery store - I've seen closets that were bigger than that store. The farmer's markets were everything you could have hoped for. Fruits and vegetables fresh from the fields. The meat and cheese markets had meats hanging from the ceiling. The store owner reached up and cut off cheese for my sister and I.

And of course the art. I couldn't begin to describe it. I came home with books from the museums. And many times I didn't even try to take photographs - I bought many postcards with no intention of mailing them.

I hope to return this year. I want to go to a cooking school in Italy on vacation. I'm also contemplating a bicycle tour through part of Italy. I haven't checked into either of those yet. I obviously have a few things to do to get ready - travel agent, bike training, etc!