Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Simple Socks

So I knitted these simple socks with cheap yarn from Big Lots. Just because it is cheap doesn't mean it is low quality. I'm fairly certain the yarn is 100% wool. I love the colors too.

These are afterthought heel socks. That means I basically knit a tube sock with a special line for the heel. I pulled out the line and then knitted in the heel. This makes it easy to replace the heel if it gets worn out. I just wanted to try out the technique. 

Even though these socks were super simple and I knitted them two at a time (toe up) it took me forever. I kept getting side-tracked by other projects. Also, I knit them on tiny....like size 0 (2mm)... needles. I finally finished these on the plane to/from Europe. The socks are a little slouchy. I might throw them in the dryer to see if I can shrink them just a little. And since they are knit in completely stockinette stitch they aren't at all springy/stretchy. I did knit a stretchy lace cuff to help keep them up.

I already have my next project picked out. I have bought the pattern, the yarn, and done the swatch. I will cast it on tonight and plan on knitting it (at least partly) while driving to/from El Paso. Well, while Ross drives.

St. Peter's Basilica

We only took a short break between the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's.  When we got there the line was obnoxiously long--you can see the line in the second photo--wrapping around the left curve. It was even longer...Ross didn't want to wait. People said it was moving quickly. After walking around a little we went back to see how much it had moved--I didn't want to miss the duomo and St. Peter's Cupola. It really had moved quickly, so Ross stood in line while I went to get some cash from the Bancomat (ATM.) I think we waited around 45 minutes to get inside, and we headed straight for the dome.
We paid the extra 2 euro to take the elevator up, but you still have to do stairs, and they are cramped. I got sick of waiting for the elevator down and took the stairs.
View from the top of the cupola. In the center there are chairs set up for mass I guess.
I mailed some postcards from the Vatican. Two have already arrived. I haven't heard anything about the postcards we sent from Athens.
St. Peter's has several cupolas.
St. Peter's feet. Everyone (except me it seems) rubs them as they walk by so the toes are completely rubbed off his right foot and smooshed and cartoony on his left foot. I really wanted to take a photo and the old ladies behind me got angry. If I had been touching it, it would have been okay...but to have his feet there, and no one touching them seemed to bother the ladies.
Handsome Swiss Guard.
So, there were a couple of strange things in St. Peter's. There was a wall with all the Pope's names inscribed on it, but it ended at JPII. JPII's crypt was there, and something was inscribed on the floor. I also thought he was there, on display, but apparently that was Pope John XXIII. It was creepy, and people were taking photos.

Vatican Museum

Just a selection of the photos I took in the Vatican Museum. We burned out after 4 hours...and so we didn't see everything.
Looking down onto the courtyard.
Must take photo of peacock.
We saw tons of sculptures. The flowing, almost transparent look of the fabric is amazing.
River God.
The staircase is a double spiral. Last time we were there you could race down the spirals and see who won. This time one side was closed off and there were "speed bumps" at the beginning to keep you from going fast.


I'm in my third round of watercolor classes and I've finally finished some paintings.
This one was basically an exercise. Practicing different techniques all on one sheet of paper.
Here is the octopus I worked forever on. I finally painted the octopus part. I'm not thrilled with it, but I learned some things while painting it.
This brain coral and the fish above it is my favorite part of the painting. I kind of like the curled up tentacle too. It reminds me of the curl on the top of a cello.
I finished this one last night. I like it. It looks better in person, and from a little far away. It is a closed trumpet flower surrounded by flowers.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I have fond memories of visiting Hydra as a child. We took a boat out to visit the island, soak up some sun, and cool off our toes in the water.

There are no cars, bicycles, or motorcycles on hydra and it is hilly, so if you want to get around, they offer donkeys.
For lunch we had some kebabs in pitas and fried zucchini balls. The star of lunch was the fries, which came with feta and oregano. It's really the best way to eat fries. Even better than truffle aoli. I don't have a lot of food porn photos. Usually I was just too hungry or too forgetful to take photos of what I was eating.

When I was a kid we used to get huge muffins on Hydra. I didn't find a bakery with muffins, but I did get a great piece of cinnamon cake. We saved the cake and ate it down by the water.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cats and Dogs

There were a lot of cats in Italy and Greece. I saw the bulk of them on Hydra. Some of the cats are really good beggars. We had some kittens that were practically climbing our legs to get some food. We were total suckers and fed them.

The dogs in Italy and Greece are different. In Italy the dogs were on leashes. In Greece the dogs were roaming around or just laying around--but a lot of them had collars. When I lived in Greece before people didn't really have dogs and cats as pets. Now there are stores devoted to pet care.

We saw two interesting dog-related things. The first one was a dog that actually used the cross walks. He waited to cross the street, and then cross another. He could have walked across the street diagonally, but he waited for the cross walk. It was hilarious. The second thing we saw was dogs with water bottles in their mouths. People give the dogs a bottle of water and the dog will bite it and drink the water that dribbles out.
Fat kitty at the leather school behind Santa Croce in Florence.
This is how the dogs in Greece were--just laying around nothing phased them.
Cat at the Acropolis, where there were many cats.
Cat family in an area with ruins.
Sleepy kitty in Hydra.
Kitties in the shade.
Blue-eyed kitty.
This kitty on Hydra looks like our old cat Charlie (who we got in Greece.)

Athens: Photo Shoot

We climbed up the tallest hill in Athens to take these photos.

Here is the original family photo we were sort of trying to replicate.

Athens: National Archaeological Museum

On a drizzly day we walked all the way to the National Archaeological Museum and tested our museum tolerance while hiding out from the rain.

I especially like looking at the jewelry in the museums. The earrings were so delicate and finely detailed.
This statue was part of a special exhibit showing things that were found in a shipwreck. The exhibit included many sculptures, glassware, a couch, and a very interesting contraption with lots of gears and dials. Experts think that the contraption is some sort of celestial calculator/computer. No other machine like it has ever been found.

This was my favorite sculpture in the museum. It depicts Aphrodite about to smack Pan with her sandal while Eros watches.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Athens: New Acropolis Museum and Random Photos

After our visit to the Acropolis rock we walked to the new Acropolis Museum.  The old one was tiny, and as I remember it, didn't have very much inside. The new one is very large and houses a lot of the original sculptures and stuff from the Acropolis. No photos were allowed inside, but I took a few outside.

Ross was worried that the museum was going to be nothing but pottery--which is all we could really see right as we walked in. We are both non-fans of pottery. Instead the museum has a lot more to offer. It had great sculptures and an entire area talking about how the sculptures were originally colored, the different minerals used to color the marble, and exactly how that was done. They even had an exhibit on how marble is sculpted out to replicate a model.

The best part of the museum was how the third floor is basically set up as the Parthenon. Original and replica metopes--high relief sculptural scenes are displayed overhead just as they are/were on the Parthenon--sets on the outer wall and inner wall. Displayed below are drawings done in the 1600s or something of what the metopes looked like back then. The pediment (end triangles) sculptures are also displayed. Some jerky Duke (of Elgin) took a bunch of the pediment sculptures from the Parthenon (and a bunch of other sculptures from the Acropolis) and transported them to England.  He then sold them to the British government, who still displays them at the British Museum. Greece wants them back, but England refuses.

Oh, there was also a video showing how they are using lasers and some sort of solution to clean the marble. It is a very fast process. Amazing. Reminded me of when I got my teeth whitened.
They have excavated around the new museum, revealing an ancient neighborhood. They are working on making it an exhibit that visitors can walk through.  There were areas we could look out over and areas with clear tiles (with lots of dots) so we could look down over the excavation site.
So in this photo we are looking down on an ancient living room mosaic.
I really liked the Tower of the Winds and took a lot of photos of it. It was once used as a kind of sun-dial. There is a rod sticking out of each side and lines carved into the sides.
Bougainvillea (I call it boogie) was everywhere in Greece.  It covered the front of our hotel. I saw purple, hot pink, light pink, peach, and white plants. I actually saw some red flowered plants at the State Fair last weekend. I need to get me a boogie plant.
I can't remember whose temple this is, but it looks cool.
I have to have my milk, even when I'm travelling, and in Greece I had Fage brand. I also had Fage brand yoghurt, both the total kind and another kind.  I prefer the total like I get here at home. The yoghurt was more expensive in Greece than it is here (I know it is made in NY here, but still) at 1,10+ € each.

On an unrelated note--we asked Kostas, our host, (more on him later) how Greeks say gyro. He said "ghee-roh," which is how my mom and I have always said it. So there. No jai-roh, no guy-roh, no yeee-roh.  He actually laughed at yee-roh.
Photo of some little yellow flowers on the side of a rock.