All Wrapped Up, a Summer-Weight Knit Dress

I decided to design and knit a summer-weight dress out of cotton/linen blend yarn (Camila from Elann). I used US size 3 needles for the body and trim and size 1 1/2s for the inside of the hem.

All Wrapped Up

I knit the dress in pieces (front and back) from the skirt down with a provisional cast on. Then I removed the cast on and knit the top. I ended up knitting three pieces but didn’t seam anything because I picked up two sets of stitches to make the two front pieces.

Back View

Side View

It’s a mock wrap dress. I decided that making an actual wrap dress would make the dress too heavy and hot for the summertime. The top half was odd to knit, because my needles ended up in this spiral because I was knitting the two front layers at the same time.

I made the belt using the six-peg Clover Wonder Knitter. I can tie this belt in multiple ways, swap it out with another style, or leave it off entirely.

Belted

As something fun for myself, I made the skirt hem and sleeve hems with a contrasting color. You can’t see it from the outside, but I suppose it can be seen when I’m sitting if you’re at the right angle.

Contrasting

The trim around the neckline was done with applied I-cord.

Total time from start to finish was about five weeks, but if you exclude the ten days we were in Canada, actual knitting time was under one month.

It’s a very comfortable dress! I think it’s going to become a wardrobe staple.

Not Sure That Helped

I went to taekwondo tonight. On the way into the building I passed Kwanjangnim. He asked how I was. I nodded, went to shake his hand, and answered in Korean, “My stomach hurts.”

“Oh, your stomach hurts?” he asked.

Suddenly I felt intense pain in the webbing of my hand. He was pinching a pressure point.

“Oh, that hurts? Turn around, put your hands together like this,” he said, clasping his hands below his chin. I did so and he stood behind me, hugged me from behind and said, “Breathe in deeply… Now relax.” He picked me up and shook me.

I felt my spine loosen.

He put me down and continued, “Now put your hands on the wall.” I turned around, faced the wall, and did what he said. He started slapping my upper back. Hard. “This will help. Korean-style. It’s good for you.”

Sort of 한방의학, I suppose.

I’m not sure that helped.

울보

I should have known better.

When I was 9 or 10, I read Charlotte’s Web. I cried at one part, which I remember clearly because I arrived at my grandparents’ house sobbing.

I picked up 샬롯의 거미줄 this winter, even though when I tried to read the first page, it was too hard. Recently, I tried the first chapter and understood most of it, so I decided it would be my next book to read.

Yesterday, Charlotte hinted to Wilbur that she was getting tired and old.

I cried.

Good Man stared at me. “Why?”

“She’s going to die!”

“No, she’s just getting old, that’s what it says.”

I wailed, “She’s being Korean! She’s talking around it! ‘It seems like I am getting old…'”

“You are strange. You are like my mother, you cry a lot.”

This afternoon, Charlotte told Wilbur she really wasn’t going to return to the farm with him. She had a day or two left to live. And Wilbur begged, begged, begged Templeton to get Charlotte’s egg sac.

I cried.

Good Man stared at me. “It is book!”

“I know! But Charlotte’s Wilbur’s best friend, and she’s going to die and he’s going to be stuck with the mean old rat!”

“She is laying…how many?”

“Five hundred fourteen.”

“Five hundred fourteen eggs!”

I shook my head, “But they won’t be Charlotte!”

“You are 울보,” Good Man said.

“I am not a crybaby!”

“Then you are cryadult.”

Tonight, Charlotte died. All alone. And Wilbur watched all but three of her 514 babies leave. He asked them to come back, to stay, but they left. Wilbur did befriend the three who stayed.

And I cried.

Good Man just looked at me. “If roach did magic, would you cry?”

“Roaches don’t make webs.”

Good Man pointed to the wall in the bedroom where our house spiders live, “This is why you don’t kill spiders! You read when you were kid and now you expect spiders to do magic!”

“Of course!” Then I started laughing. And crying. Because I sounded ridiculous. But isn’t that the joy in reading children’s books? Believing in magic?

“If you care about fake talking spider in book so much, then you should never kill spider, roach, grasshopper, ant…”

“I’m not Buddhist,” I said.

“Why don’t you join PETA?”

“I eat meat.”

Good Man shook his head, “And you are crying over spider in a book! I am just pointing out your paradox…”

***
I was on-track for my Korean goal and then Mother’s visit, the end of the school year, a weekend at the beach, ten days in Canada, and having a hard time getting through multiple books all set me back.

But, onward and upward. I’ve finished “소나기” and 샬롯의 거미줄 since my last update.

533,300

You Were Not Even Invited

“Honey, I don’t think I should come on Friday,” I told Good Man, “I think I will make you too nervous.”

Good Man looked at me. “You were not even invited.”

ㅎㅎㅎ Good point. I wasn’t.

***

Last week Good Man decided he would take one one-hour driving lesson each day this week, culminating with his driving test today. I told him he didn’t have to take it unless he was really sure. I was afraid if he failed on the first try, he’d put off re-taking the test and I wanted him to be sure he felt ready.

“I am ready,” he said. “She [the instructor] told me I don’t need 10 hours, just a few more.”

After his first behind-the-wheel lesson, Good Man has slowly warmed up to driving. A few weeks ago, he started saying “부릉부릉, 빵! 빵!” after each lesson.

Bu-reung bu-reung, bbang! Bbang! is the sound of a car driving and honking in Korean.

When he started making driving noises (complete with wheel turning and horn honking motions), I figured he was enjoying driving. He disagreed with me (but I still think I’m right).

The local DMV office’s course is on the road, so Good Man’s instructor has been bringing him out to the actual course to practice. (When I told Good Man my test was in the parking lot of the DMV he was shocked. “A parking lot is not the road!”)

Good Man’s instructor picked him at up 7:15 this morning. “I will not come home if I fail,” he joked, “I will hide.”

When 11:00 rolled around, I was a bit worried. Finally I heard the door bell (his weird way of announcing he’s home—yes, my husband does have a key) and walked out to the living room.

I could tell by the grin on his face that he’d passed. He flashed me two peace signs and nodded.

Yeah, Good Man! Licensed, at last!

Bless Good Man. Apparently his examiner talked the whole time, distracted him by playing with the aircon controls, and said, “Go, go, quickly!” at a left turn (yield on green light) that he was hesitating about. He also didn’t have to parallel park. (What?)

But who cares? He passed!

Now…we only own a stick. He can’t drive a stick (yet). He hasn’t driven at night and I don’t even know that he’s gotten on the interstate. But I don’t care. He’s licensed. Amen. Amen. Amen. He can get night and interstate practice when we go to Middle Of Nowhere, Minnesota next month.

That’s Not My Truck

Five years ago, I rear-ended someone. It was a minor accident, but it left my front bumper twisted. It was still securely attached (in the front center at least) to my car, and I could still put a front license plate on my bumper. As such, I didn’t bother to put in a claim. My insurance deductible was high enough that I would’ve paid for all of the repair or most of it, and putting in a claim would’ve just increased my insurance fees.

My students always bother me about the bumper. They tell me I need a new car, that I should fix it. Once, I found a bilingual business card from one of the parents of a student at our school under my windshield wiper. It was for a body repair shop. I was the only car in the school parking lot with major visible damage; I was the only car graced with the business card.

I joked that it warns other drivers to stay out of my way. Really, I didn’t want to spend the money to fix it. I didn’t care that the car looked tired.

In Virginia you have to pass an emissions test every two years and a yearly safety inspection every year.

(As a side note, I hate emissions inspections. I support them in theory because rah, rah environment. However, the first emissions test I ever took? My bought-for-$1-and-many-more-in-repairs 1985 Volvo 240 station wagon, a great car I named Anika, failed the NOx limit by 600 times the legal limit. That same day, the heater core in my car broke. When I brought it to my guy, Randy, he told me to sit down. “It would cost more to replace the heater core than your car is worth. And then we’d have to deal with emissions.” I turned around and sold Anika for $1. Since then, I’m always afraid my car is going to belch up pollution and fail on me.)

Every year, around this time, it seems my car needs some major repair. All new tires, a whole new dash (although going zero miles per hour on the freeway was fun!).

Despite having passed my yearly inspection twice with my bumper as-is, this year I was told it’d fail. I went two places and they both said the same thing. (At least they didn’t charge me for the advice.)

I researched where to go, got two estimates, and ended up at Cedar Park Auto Body (who gave me an estimate more than $150 under the other place). I got the estimate Friday. “What kind of fix are you looking for?” the guy asked me.

“Enough to get it to pass the yearly inspection. Used, whatever, I don’t care. Cheapest I can get it, since I’m paying out-of-pocket.”

He laughed. He didn’t try to talk me into more, but he was very clear that something-or-other under the bumper was probably bent and would need to be replaced.

I dropped off the car yesterday morning and picked it up this afternoon.

That is not my truck. It looks years younger with its face bumper-lift.

I highly recommend Cedar Park Auto Body. What they said it would cost, it cost. And they threw in my yearly inspection for free (thanks!).

Unfortunately, they couldn’t do emissions, so I did that elsewhere (and passed).

Now, rock on for one more year, little truck—Leif. I’m not ready to replace you. Even if you are a pre-teen.

July 17th Garden Update

While we were out of town, a coworker came and watered my plants. In exchange, she took my CSA off of my hands. She only came over twice, so the rest of the time the plants were being watered by the bottles or in a big plastic bin, soaking up water from the bottom of their pots.

In the two weeks since my last garden update, the weather has been crazy. It was over 80 degrees every day, and two days in a row the max hit 102. We also had really strong thunderstorms. When I got back the plants looks pretty good, except the peppers were nearly flat from a strong thunderstorm. I tied them up and onward we go.

While I was gone, the water in some of the bottles took on a green tint. I haven’t seen it before. I wonder if it’s some sort of an algae? I’ve since removed the bottles and I’m leaving them off for a few days to let everything (the bottles and the plants, since the soil’s still damp from the last thunderstorm) dry out a bit.

Algae?

The cosmos? Eh, we’ll see what happens.

Cosmos

The sesame leaves are doing well. Even the runt in the upper left corner is doing better.

Sesame Leaves

I whacked down most of the dill before we left, leaving some to go to seed. Two of the stalks weren’t whacked down enough since they just started producing more dill.

Dill

The hitchhiker plant is doing well, and indeed, I think it’s jewelweed. (Thanks, Jonathan!) The poppies? I don’t think they’re going to bloom. I got the poppies from someone, and I wonder if they were a hybrid and she didn’t know that the seeds from the hybrid probably wouldn’t bloom.

Poppies and a Hitchhiker

Peppers, Basil, Marigolds

The peppers have grown very tall and the tallest ones are starting to flower. Still, I’m concerned that (as Donna pointed out) the hot, hot heat is harming them.

I also discovered two peppers with blossom-end rot. I pulled those off and ate the good parts.

At this point, the weather is so hot this season that I’ve sort of thrown up my hands. If I get fruit, great. If not, oh well. At least the garden has given me something more interesting to look at than a parking lot!

Tallest Peppers

Average Peppers

Peppers without Blossom-End Rot

The Most Unknown and Unsigned Park in Newfoundland (Maybe?)

Monday, our last full day in Newfoundland, we drove to St John’s from Port Blandford. On the way, we decided to go to Salmonier Nature Park and Cataracts Provincial Park.

At Salmonier, animals are shown in their natural habitat. We heard very good thngs about it. Cataracts was fairly close and was described in our guidebook:

A deep river gorge with two cascading waterfalls provide a scenic setting for photographs. Stairs and walkways enable the visitor to descend the gorge and cross the river. Thirty-five percent of the known mosses and liverworts in Newfoundland have been identified in this park. Picnic sites and pit toilets are available for day users.

Sounds great, right? The only problem was the directions. We found “The park is located on the Avalon Peninsula south east of Placentia” and “the park is 25 km southwest of Salmonier” and “the park is 5 km west of Cloinet on route 91.”

Every other park we’ve visited (and ones we haven’t!) has been well-signed from the roads (TCH 1 and all of the routes). So I put rte 91 in Colinet in our GPS, followed the signs to 91 and drove along on my way.

Except we never saw a single sign for Cataracts. Salmonier, Witless Bay, Avalon Reserve? Sure. Cataracts? Nope.

I checked recreation: parks/gardens in my GPS and they had Cataracts listed, so I plugged it in.

And we drove. And drove. And found ourselves on yet another gravelly under-construction road.

“I don’t think this is it,” Good Man said, looking around.

I figured it didn’t matter. We’d see some sort of a sign. We always had before.

We passed several bridges. I wanted to stop and take photos, but Good Man wanted to find the park first.

When we got to the park’s location per GPS? Nothing. It was grass and trees and gravel. And over a 10-15 km stretch, about three houses. We drove a few km past the park point per GPS and finally turned around, deciding to give up and go to Salmonier.

I stopped at the bridge I’d wanted to take photos of and found!

Waterfall at Cataracts?

I poked around some more. Hey, that looks like a walkway over the gorge!

Walkway at Cataracts?

I went and got Good Man, “I think this is the park.”

Good Man looked around, “I do not see sign, this is not park.” He was right about the signs. If you’re looking for Cataracts, you won’t find signs. Of any sort. Anywhere. Good luck realizing this is a park when you’re actually driving. (As a side, if anyone is looking for the park, the GPS coordinates are 47.242406,-53.63156.)

No Sign

No Sign

We spent just a few minutes doing the walkway path. The views were nice, the park was deserted. When we were done, Good Man vetoed Salmonier. “It was too hard to find this place. That is our sign to skip Salmonier!”

Cataracts Park

Cataracts Park

I let Good Man have his way. We headed back to St John’s and relaxed for the evening, before heading home Tuesday morning.

Terra Nova National Park

Sunday we headed to Terra Nova National Park. After several great days of sunny weather, we got rain on and off all day. We wanted to hike, but the intermittent storms made up lazy, so we explored the cove around Newman Sound instead.

Newman Sound is a migratory bird sanctuary and we could hear loons off in the distance. I’m not a bird watcher, but loons are my favorite bird (blame my Minnesota-background).

Newman Sound

One benefit of rainy days is bright, saturated colors for photography! (On the forest floor at least, no so much for the sky!)

On the Trail

Pink Flowers

Green and Brown

Hawkweed (?)

We found this on the shore. Why would there be concrete steps there? (No, there’s no path going from the concrete steps.)

The Mystery Steps

Low Tide

Snail on Snail Action

Seaweed and Stones

Hiding

Growing on a Stone

Unfurling Plant

Good Man

Good Man, bless him, was pretty much over parks and hiking and nature at this point.

However, when we ended up far down the shore and very lost from the original trail, before I could decide what to do, Good Man had scaled his way from the shore to the top of the forest floor.

Maybe he’s really becoming a hiking guy, after all.

Beat You!

Before stepping off the path to go to our car, I heard some noise and demanded that we explore a side path. Good Man sighed and agreed and we found this.

Waterfall

When we’d started walking on the tail, we’d passed an informational panel. But we didn’t see this one with the bear warning until we were done. I’m pretty sure if we’d seen it first, Good Man would’ve refused to go as far as we did.

Bear in Area

After exploring a (small) bit of Terra Nova, we headed to Charlottetown where we had an excellent meal at Clode Sound Motel and Restaurant. We also finally tried a traditional Newfoundland dish of French fries with dressing (stuffing) and gravy. It was good, but I’ll probably stick to my potatoes with gravy and stuffing on the side.

Charlottetown

Fries, Dressing, Gravy

Plan vs Reality

The plan was to fly from St John’s to Halifax to Montreal to Newark. After nearly three hours, take Amtrak to DC and then subway and bus it home.

The reality was different.

Flights to Halifax and Montreal were fine. For some reason you go through US customs in Montreal. We got yelled at by one woman. “Where are you coming from?” I thought for a moment because I wasn’t sure if St John’s or Halifax was the best answer. Before I could reply she screamed again, “Where are you coming from?”

Shut up.

We got through the first customs officer and then got pulled for a secondary inspection. I thought once I showed him what we’d bought (a necklace, candy) that we’d be fine, but I was asked twice how many international trips we’d taken in the last twelve months. (Three: Sweden, Korea, Canada.)

Cleared that hurdle only to find that our 2:00 pm flight was canceled and there was nobody at the gate to talk to. No signs. Not even a map to figure out where Air Canada’s office was.

We wandered around until I found a manned gate. The agent said, “Nobody told you go to customer service?”

I thought, What a weird question. Who would tell us? Nobody has talked to us. If someone had told us, why would I be asking you when you’re manning a gate for flights to LA?

We went to customer service as she directed. I hate dealing with canceled flights not because of the hassle, but because of the pompous people who use their cell phones to call everyone they know to try and find flights, all while bitching about the Very Important Meeting they have with a client.

Look, dude, I know you think you’re really important. But when you look at the departures board and every flight from every airline to Philadelphia, Boston, and New York is canceled, it’s the weather. Nobody is going to change the weather for you, no matter how important you think you are.

I bitched to Good Man in Korean about the people around us and he said, “You know, even if I don’t speak Korean, I know what you’re saying because of your face.”

I nodded, “I am like an actress, I am so expressive. But none of them are listening to me.”

When it finally came to our turn at 2:30, I quietly said to the agent, “Look, our final destination is not Newark. It’s Washington, DC. Can you reroute us there?”

I figured she’d say no because it was a more expensive ticket, it wasn’t the original one, there were limitations, etc. Instead she asked if we had luggage. When we said no, she laughed and said, “That really helps! I want to get you out of here because if I don’t get you out of here tonight the flights will be really messed up tomorrow!”

We were scheduled to get out at 3:00 pm, in DC before 5. Hey, we’d be getting home ~6 hours earlier than expected! I called Amtrak and although our tickets weren’t nonrefundable, we could cancel the reservation, keep the tickets, and have twelve months to transfer the face value of the tickets to a new purchase. Great, done, and we’re set.

And then! There was a cracked windshield on the 3:00 plane. Rescheduled for 7:00 and we got meal vouchers.

After wandering around the American-only-departures part of the airport, it finally draws closer to leaving time. The only problem? Good Man had a boarding pass, but he didn’t have a seat. (I did.)

Around 6:40, Good Man and Someone Else got called up to get seats. I walked up and said, “[Totally Mispronounced Last Name That My Husband Didn’t Even Recognize as His Own] is my husband.”

The agent took my boarding pass and gave us seats as close together as he could. I went back to show Good Man and realized I had Someone Else’s boarding pass. I walked back up the gate agent.

“This isn’t me. This is Someone Else.”

“Oh my! I’m so sorry! OK, well, you can just use your original boarding pass.”

“You took my boarding pass and put it in the trash.”

The gate agent looked horrified. “OK, wait, leave that here and I’ll take care of it.”

We got two seats two rows apart and he said the person sitting next to both of us appeared to be a singleton. No problem. (Although, really, why not just give me Someone Else’s seat and give her mine?)

The plane was a puddle jumper so small that even our well-within regulation carry-ons were too big and we checked them plane-side. Fine, whatever.

When we finally got on the plane, I asked Person Next to Good Man if she’d be willing to switch seats. I had a bulkhead row seat (more leg room) and figured it’s be easier for me to move than Person Next to Me. She agreed and everything was fine.

So I thought.

Right before take off the flight attendant approached us and said, “She wanted to sit there because her two friends are sitting behind you.”

Well. OK. How do you react to that? She said yes. I just stared at the attendant. Lady, it’s not my fault you can’t say “no.”

Since we flew into Dulles we Super Shuttled it home.

Still ended up getting home about an hour earlier than we planned.

Ugh. I love traveling. I generally hate getting to the travel locations.

The Jokes Just Write Themselves

Imagine, if you will, Dildo Run Provincial Park located near Virgin Arm.

The jokes just write themselves…

In a Stream

Saturday we headed northwest to Dildo Run Provincial Park (near Virgin Arm). Yes, we did so solely for the name. We are (and by that I mean “I am,” since I was the driver) that mature. Also, it’s in iceberg alley, and the whales were coming in the bay, so we thought we might spy either or both.

Spoiler: We spotted neither.

The park is somewhat small (I think the first park we visited, Butter Pot, must be one of the bigger ones) but the shore is beautiful and you have a view of the New World Islands. We got a map and started the hike to Blackhead. (Newfoundland: We were named by people with a sense of humor.)

When we were near the end of the trail (and thus the viewing platform), Good Man stopped.

Look!

I walked up to the sign. “Arrrggggg!”

What?

Alright, I’m all for nesting hawks, but really? The park employees knew we were hiking. There was only one marked trail. They couldn’t’ve warned us that we wouldn’t reach our destination?

We started hiking back and wandered down to the shore and hiked that way back.

Good Man

The views were lovely (are any of the views not lovely in Newfoundland?), but Good Man really needs some real hiking boots. He keeps claiming he doesn’t need any, but these sneakers are just not doing it. I know boots are expensive, but good boots last a long time. And even if you don’t wear them daily, they’re worth the price. I might have to pull one of Mother’s ajumma tricks and just drag him to the store to buy some.

New World Islands

Slate

It’s Amazing Where Trees Grow

Hanging Out

We left Dildo Park and headed back to our self-catered cabins (the very lovely By d’ Bay Cabins). I poked around some side roads to take photos.

Near Wings Point

On the drive up I’d seen an old church falling apart. On the return trip, we stopped to look at it. I’m pretty sure the nearest town or village with a name was Wings Point. I assume, based on majority of the churches that I saw, that this was once an Anglican church.

The church was built at an angle to the shore, which I found a bit strange. Was it really built like that? Has the shore moved over time?

Old Church

To the right of the church there was another small structure with a cross on top. It looked a bit like a small lighthouse. I assume it once held church bells, but I didn’t get any good photos of it.

The Cove

The steeple was in poor shape, and the cross was so lightweight that the wind picked it up. There was a door open near the back that was storing junk. Windows were broken, but there was some furniture inside the church. Obviously, at some point, someone had access to the church. Across the street from this church there were occupied houses. A new Anglican church was down the street.

There were two headstones on the property. The first was for a nineteen-year old who died in 1905. (I think this stone is in great shape if it was really placed 100 years ago!) The second one was for a male six-day old who died in 1902. There’s a second name listed on that headstone, but I can’t read it well. I do know that it was a woman who died 13 days after the baby. Infant and mother? Influenza?

The church was at an angle to the shore and these two headstones also appeared rather haphazardly placed, compared to the rows of headstones I’m used to seeing.

Single Burial Headstone

Double Burial Headstone

A little past the church we found an abandoned store. Two men were in there working on it. Next to it we found this collapsing shed.

In Wings Point

The most interesting parts of Newfoundland have been the towns and villages on the shores. I’ve been getting a feeling for the retirement communities, for the communities that are losing citizens, for the communities trying to hang on, for the growing communities…