Friday, May 30, 2008

Keeping My Hands Busy

Last weekend, I was off to Sorrento for the 10th Annual Okanagan Knitting Retreat. Sorrento is on the Shuswap Lake, a mighty fine place to hang out in the summer. But I'm not the only one who had that idea. Down the road from Sorrento is Sicamous, which is the Houseboat Capital of Canada. So there is plenty of hanging out on the Shuswap in the summer.

I didn't actually get to see much of Sorrento because I was keeping my hands, and as it turns out, mind busy. I learnt lots about working with colour yarn, and did mitred modules and entrelac and then, I learnt how to knit backwards. Very handy!

No pictures as I was too busy. They would have all been blurry anyways - those hands were moving pretty fast.

Some of the last couple of weeks, much of my "travel" has been in the back yard. A couple weekends ago, Al came up to dig the garden visit. "We" expanded the garden by a few feet, and dug in mushroom manure and peat moss.

This garden is devoted to vegetables:

And all is growing well.

Al and I also went off to the garden centres, and I found a deal on fibre pots. I seem to have this fascination with purple this year, because when I came home, I noted that I had a lot of purple flowers. I hope the fascination lasts all summer.

We also made a two-car trip to the garbage/recycling centre - and now the patio is ready for hanging out:

Oh, it is so much fun to hang out with these smiling faces:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Eye of the Needle

At last! At least a dozen times, I have been to Seattle. At least 50 times, I have driven by the Space Needle. At least 100 replicas I have seen of the Space Needle, thanks to an avid collector in Ryan's building. I have little Space Needles in my home. I had even attended the New Year's fireworks event there. But never, never had I gone up the Space Needle. It is a sorry statement for a modern day explorer. (Modern day explorers, BTW, are fascinated by malls and nature alike!)

When I went to Seattle for Easter, I convinced my Seattle chauffeurs and tour guides (AKA Ryan and Julie) to do what every other visitor has done - see the world from a different view. Here is another hard-to-believe-it bit of information - the Space Needle is walking distance from Ryan's apartment! How easy is that? We walked, noting that it was downhill much of the way. I had a brief premonition about the return trip, but brushed it off in my enthusiasm.

The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World's Fair; it's futuristic style included space-age colours - Orbital Olive for the body, Astronaut White for the legs, Re-entry Red for the saucer, and Galaxy Gold for the roof. To build the foundation, a hole was built that was 30 feet deep and 120 feet wide. It took 467 cement trucks a full day to fill in the hole.

Though we could have chosen to go up the Space Needle by night, we went by day. Here we are at the beginning of the journey.

The ride up the elevator took far less time than our wait in line. We found many ways to amuse ourselves while we waited. I chatted up an employee who passed us in line, and quizzed her on the process for getting summer employment. (An employment counsellor is always on the job.) We got on the elevator with glass doors and in 41 seconds we arrived at our destination! Here's the view on the way up:
The observation deck is 520 feet from the bottom; that's approximately 60 stories. Most of the pictures of the Space Needle against the sky scrapers are optical illusions. The photos are taken with the Space Needle in the foreground. If you want a postcard picture of the Space Needle, Ryan's neighbourhood, is ideal.

Once we got to the top, we had 360 degrees view of the city. If you look hard you will see that in the background of this picture is Mt. Rainier, which is a fascinating volcano in that it is so much taller than anything close to it. "Yes," Ryan says, "it is just like the volcanoes on the islands of Hawaii."

The Space Needle observation deck has both an inside area, complete with concession and bathrooms, and outside. For some reason when I was in the bathroom, I wondered about our flushes. Do they do their journey down in 41 seconds? And then when it lands, what would that force be? I wonder why I haven't thought of this before...

We walked around the outside observation deck and saw many sites - including Ryan's apartment, piers, and buildings. Here is one company that has chosen to advertise on the roof.

The windows that separate the inside from the outside observation deck have a mirrored side on the outside. So, if we stand facing the windows, we get a lovely view of the city, and ourselves. In this photo, Julia, Ryan and I. Who's on the inside? And who is taking the picture?

Oh it was an exciting day! And I got to learn a new word: acrophobia.