Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Southeastern Iowa Yarn Crawl or Abusing My Credit Card

The best thing about traveling is getting to shop at exotic yarn stores and the southeastern corner of Iowa was very exotic, indeed.  We found several string emporiums vying for our attention, but in the end only 4 made our iteneary.  I see another Iowa yarn crawl in my future.

Immediately on our arrival in Iowa City we were on the look out for a yarn store and in three shakes of lamb's tail we found ourselves at Crazy Girl Yarns ( ).  Crazy Girl Yarns has two locations, one in Coralville and one in Cedar Rapids.  We went to the Coralville location, because Coralville is a suburb of Iowa City.  I didn't know Iowa City was so cosmopolitan.  Crazy Girl was a nice yarn store, large with a good selection of Noro, Cascade, and Mirasol yarns among others.  The store had lots of space and tables to sit and knit.  I was very  impressed by the variety of knitting books as well, they even had one section of books labeled "SAUCY."  I bought some Noro and a book called Knit Green.  A very determined woman was knitting at one of the tables with the help of the store clerk.  The woman was chatty and I even helped her fix a mistake.  We spoke the language of knitting like we were old friends and that made me feel good about Iowa knitters.

Next we headed to The Knitting Shoppe ( ) and trust me we would have never found it if we had not had a garmin to guide us.  The parking lot was very full and the car next to us had two adorable little knitted critters in the backseat that I had to ogle. 

Once inside I asked who had the animals in the car and a woman told me her latest project was to work through Knitted Wild Animals: 15 Adorable, Easy-to-Knit Toys by Sarah Keen. She almost made me want to knit a purple rhino.  The shop was very crowded with  loud friendly knitters.  Yarn was in shelves almost all the way up to the top of the 10 foot ceiling.  It was a little overwhelming to know where to look and I kept tripping over other knitters.  The shop felt more like a party than a business, and we were hail knitters well met, I LOVED the atomshere of this shop.  I bought Liberty yarn and Natalie bought some delicious alpaca yarn for a sweater pattern she als bought at the shop.  She loved the yarn so much she went back the next day and bought more.

We did wedding stuff and on our last morning in Iowa City we went to Home Ec Workshop ( ).  What a sweet shop!  The shop has, a fabric room, a yarn room, craft lab, and snack counter.  The selection of yarn was smaller than the other shops, but they had chosen well.  The Madelinetosh and clearance Mirasol Tupa kept subliminally saying, "Buy me."  I spent most of my time digging through the clearance bin finding green Tupa (9 skeins) making sure to get it all so no other knitter would be tortured with only one lone skein of the perfect green color and not another to match in sight.  I would also like to say the couch was particularly comfortable there.

We also were able to stop by R. Rabbit's Fiber Studio in Cedar Rapids.  I have to say this shop was very small.  They had packed the shop with yarn, fibers, looms, spinning wheels, books, and state winning knitted items.  One of the State Fair 2nd place winning shawls was hanging on the wall.  The yarn had been hand spun and then knitted into a very complicated lace pattern and only won 2nd place.  I can only imagine what won first.  As with every shop we had been to the knitters were so welcoming and ready to start talking yarn.  I will say it again, I think a second Iowa yarn crawl is in order.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Number 3 or Iowa Revisited

Johnson County Iowa Court

Once again my wife and I found ourselves on the way to Iowa for another wedding.  This time the wedding was not ours, but our good friends Kim and Barb.  Kim has been someone I have known from many years back.  One of the truly lucky things about my time in North County was reconnecting with her. 

The soon to be newlyweds

Kim and her very witty partner, Barb, decided to make the trek to Iowa and make their 18 years together official.  Natalie and I decided that a return trip to the mid western state where gay marriage is legal was in order.  The added bonus of 3 days off from work and spending time with good friends sealed the deal.

On October 13 we stood in the same courthouse in the same courtroom with the same judge watching our friends get married.  It was nice to actual hear the marriage vows that I sobbed through.  It is also good to finally know I did not agree to "Obey" Natalie.  I had just agreed be her partner in life.  Their ceremony was beautiful, Barb was radiant and Kim all smiles.

The good people of Iowa did us proud.  They were so welcoming and pleased that we came to their state for a wedding.  Judge Karen was happy to spend time in her busy day to perform nuptials for two people so obviously in love.  She told us that she enjoys marrying people and this year she has married about 75 gay and lesbian couples.  After the ceremony we all left the courtroom smiling. 

The wedding party
To Kim and Barb I wish many years of love and happiness.  Thank you for letting us share in your joy.  For the rest of us I wish all states would open their minds and hearts to allow this equal right to all of their citizens.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

$200, 2 Hours, and 1 Broken Nail Later, Or Going to Costco

I know I owe you dear reader the final chapter of 3 Weddings and a Trip to Iowa, but I just got back from Costco and feel a little careworn.  Let me outline my excursion to Costco and you may feel I have earned a brief respite from responsibility.

I needed to go to Costco because I am running a little low on essentials and they kindly sent me a coupon flier.  With my paycheck recently deposited I headed to the warehouse of wholesale prices, my shopping list engraved on my brain.

Trying to think smartly, I decided to gas up first because I know I will be too exhausted afterwards to save 7 cents a gallon on gas.  After waiting my turn I fill up and move on to parking.  I parked about 20 yards from the pump because the lot was packed.  I knew this was going to be a busy day for warehouse shopping. 

Sighing, I grab my enormous shopping bags and go.  I no more than flash my membership card and my bladder decides I need a trip to the women's room which is of course on the other side of the store.  Leaving my cart I take care of business and of course have to go back out and get a new cart because my old one is gone.  To get back in I have to flash my membership card again. 

Hardcore grab and go shopping is on my mind, I head immediately all the way back to the cheese section and then move on to fruit.  Just out of fruits I start looking for the coupons.  No coupon book.  Yup, I left it in the car.  Leaving my cart I run back out to my car, pick up the coupon book, head back in, and of course flash my membership card again.

And you guessed it I go back to my cart to find it gone (glad I took my shopping bags with me).  There I am back to go, collect another cart, and of course flash my membership card again.

Back to cheese and fruit and on to freezer section for me.  After dodging other shoppers, small children, and the very friendly demo staff I have finished my scavenger hunt for couponed items and I am in line to pay.  Of course I am in the wrong line.  I always pick the wrong line.  I notice my error about halfway through unloading my cart, that was the moment when I notice my clerk has his arm up the money tube.  Apparently, the plastic money bin is stuck in the tube.  After he and another clerk use a stick to unwedge the bin my clerk has to walk it to the office.  (I am not kidding folks).  The other clerk finally logs in and starts to finish with the customer in front of me.  I try not to judge people, BUT the customer in front of me waits for a total and then pulls out a check book.  Say what you will about debit card fees, but they are quicker.

So with purchases in cart I head to my car.  I bag up the items fill up my hatch and realize, yes I have to go to the women's room again.  I debate with myself and then back to the store I go.  And again I am asked to show my membership card.  I make the long trek to the facilities feeling like every employee there is thinking, "When will that bitch leave?"

At last I found myself at home parked and looking at the long walk to my house with enormous shopping bags full of army of children sized portions of bread and milk.  Somewhere on this shuffle inside I managed to break a nail and snag my shirt on the door. 

So I feel I have earned a respite from my chores to watch Top Gear and blog. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Have I Mentioned I Like Fiestaware?

No wedding this weekend, I have the joy of working instead of celebrating with people I love.  Don't despair dear reader, next week I go to my final wedding of the season and I will report with joy for the newlyweds.  In the meantime I will gush lovingly about my latest Fiestaware acquirement.

I have been working on getting a complete set of Fiestaware mixing bowls, five in total.  The problem with getting the set has been I wanted each one in an individual specific color.  Homer Laughlin decided to retail these in blocked sets.  Initially it looked like I was going to have to purchase either one color set or buy multiple sets to create the set I wanted.   The later being a very costly endeavor.  So I was a little sulky about the whole thing.

My sulk actually gave me time to accept that I am powerless to powers of brightly colored dinnerware and  with my credit card in hand found myself at the local place where Fiestaware lives, Cornucopia ( ).  As I stepped into the liar of Fiesta I was happily surprised to see that they actually had individual bowls for purchase!  If there had not been so many breakable things around me, I would have danced for joy.   Three of the five bowls went home to live with the rest of Fiestaware family.

Three down, two more to go.  Getting the last two was trickier, they also were a two piece set.  Utilizing patience, resolve, and much time spent on the internet at last victory was mine.  The set was complete in all the colors I wanted: Evergreen, Shamrock, Lemongrass, Marigold, and Ivory.  Once I had all my bowls, like a possessed thing I stacked and restacked them, lined them up on my table, rubbed them down with a towel, and general stared at the glory of my new set of mixing bowls.  I swear I heard angels singing at one point.

I told Natalie about my quest realized.  She snorted and said, "So when are you actually going to use those to cook with?"  I think my face fell at the thought of actually using a hand mixer in my new bowls.  Natalie just looked at me and laughed.  "That's what I thought," she said shaking her head and walking away.  

Oh well, did I mention Homer Laughlin has put out a new 75th Anniversary soup tureen?  It is stunning with a ladle and a tray.  Sigh, I know where my next quest will take me and trust me it isn't making soup.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wedding Number 2

Today I went to another wedding, these nuptials were a family event.  I got to see cousins, aunt, uncles, nieces, siblings, and my wonderful mother.  I wore a my birthday dress and my beautiful wife wore green.  The weather was lovely and the caterers were awesome (granted they are also family, but the food was still very good).  Basking in the love of my family and a radiant pair of newlyweds does much to warm your soul.

Mandy, the radiant bride
I remember Mandy being born when I was 12.  She is my first cousin once removed, one of the earliest of that generation.  Today she and her three children joined another family of three, so like the Brady Bunch they became a large family over night.  I really liked that all of the children were in the wedding party.  To show their commitment to the new and improved blended family they each poured colored sand in a large jar.  I thought it was a brilliant way to show unity.

The Newly Blended Family, All Smiles
I can only wish them all the best in their new life, with the hope for more smiles and few tears.  I would like to say I prefer family get togethers which include weddings over less joyful events.  Even more I prefer events which include my wife; having her by my side always makes everything better.  My family gets kudos for all the congratulations and hugs I received about our recent nuptials.  My Aunt Maryann, the family matriarch, made it a point to come over and tells us how happy she was for us.  I thought it was another beautiful wedding and I am so glad I was invited to celebrate.