About Me

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We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Isabella Progress

It's been a little too hot for knitting the past couple of days, but I am determined to get this tank top done soon. I think it is taking so long because I had to change to really TINY needles to get the gauge. I don't know what size they are, because I didn't bring my needle sizer, but I'm guessing they are a 1.
The pattern calls for the front to have three rows of eyelets, while the back only has two near the bottom. I'm not sure if this is going to bother me or not, but I am NOT re-knitting the back so I better get used to it.
A detail of the front lace part- I've just divided for the two sides. As you can see, it is in keeping with my goal of mastering lace and is just so pretty. It really sold me on this pattern in the first place.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ann Arbor, Michigan

After a couple of days in the UP. we spent some time in Ann Arbor, where the University of Michigan is located. Here are a couple of collegiate shots:We stayed with Eduardo and Anju and they showed us around town. We even got them out in a canoe at the local lake.Mobi, not one to be left out, got in on the game of Frisbee.She would grab the Frisbee and take off with it, not letting anyone have it.

We had a lot of fun with Eduardo and Anju, and really enjoyed Ann Arbor. I always liked going there when I was in college- it had a lot more energy than Kalamazoo and a fun atmosphere. For me, Ann Arbor will always be a quintessentially college town. On Sunday, we met up with Nikki and Calvin for breakfast at an old favorite: Cafe Zola. We used to have brunch here all the time before heading back to Kzoo. I was so excited to see them, I totally forgot to get a picture :(

Monday, June 25, 2007

First Pair of Socks and Lace

I feel like such a more accomplished knitter now that I have completed my first pair of socks. Since I had a solid color, I wanted the socks to have a pattern. And since I have never been able to successfully complete lace, I was determined to master that this summer. So, I combined the two and chose the Monkey pattern from Knitty.com. It was easy to follow and fun to do. Everyone told me the heel was the worst part, but I had no problems with it, so I am assuming the well-written pattern helped a lot. I think the gauge was a little off, because these are much bigger and slouchier than the pattern picture, but I like them for lounging around the house or wearing on a chilly winter day. I like the custom-fit aspect of knitted socks, since my feet are so small, but I will have to remember to gauge first! I had purchased three skeins of this sock yarn and only used one and a half, so I see another pair of blue socks being knit in the fall (I can't find the label with the brand name- it was all in German anyway).

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Before leaving home, I got a chance to see the premier of PBS's 3-part series Craft in America. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. First of all, with only three parts, it necessarily lacked a lot of crafts and artists, and made me wish this was a continuous tv series. I was also peeved that not a single New England artist was represented. But I was really moved by what I saw. It made me want to got out there and support local artisans and also explore more in depth the arts and crafts movement in America and learn more about its origins and history. It also made me want to take up weaving, spinning, basket making, quilting and pottery. Like, now. Like, sign up for every community education class they offer related to crafts. The craft bug even bit Juan- he's started talking about taking up carpentry when we get the space to do it.

Well, the website has even more video footage and craft and artist info. It also has virtual exhibitions and lots of other resources. So, check it out. We can be so concerned with getting "exotic" local crafts when we travel abroad, we may forget that different regions in America have their own rich artistic traditions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Marquette, MI

I went to college in Michigan, so that is where all my college pals are from. Nikki and Amy are from the same town in the UP (Upper Peninsula for all you non Michigonians), and I have had several trips up there over the years. Juan had never experienced the UP, so we decided to make a stop there before heading down to the southern part of the state on our way out East.
Gary and Janet, Amy's parents, always welcome me into their home, and this visit was no exception. Gary built their log home himself, and they have lots of fruit trees, berry bushes, grapes, and gardens around the house. He also built a sauna separate from the house, complete with shower and changing room. This was fired up and ready to receive us after two days of camping, canoeing, and long-distance driving. Janet had also planned a delicious dinner for us when we got out- I felt like we were in a spa! Good conversation, signature Graham margaritas, and close games of cribbage made us not want to leave. (Gary, I'm going to have a chance to redeem myself when you get to Maine next week!)

We did have an incident with the canoe, which I'm not ready to talk about yet, though I will say no one was hurt, the canoe is still in our possession, and the Marquette Coast Guard is an attractive bunch.
Here are some pictures of our Marquette visit:

The Mackinac Bridge (pronounced like Mackinaw) connecting the UP to southern MI.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Canoeing in Split Rock State Park

At Split Rock State Park in Minnesota we went canoeing on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Here's Juan putting in his part:
And me doing mine:
And Mobi... well, being Mobi:It was quite humbling to have these huge rocks overhead and look down and see all the way to the bottom of this deep, deep water. We felt very tiny and vulnerable as the waves and wind splashed the canoe here and there. It doesn't look like it here, but when we got close to the rocks, the water got rougher.Ok, now Juan tells me that I felt tiny not him. He wanted to keep going. (Just to get the record straight)
We got right past the lighthouse and then turned around to explore the other shore.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Back with Baby Photos

We made it to Maine with minimal drama. Now that I am a Mac-er, though, my pictures are not uploading like they should with my regular programs and so I am not sure I can post them to my travel blog. So, do I start another one with Blogger here just for travel photos, use this one, or just, well, not? I haven't decided. I have so many pictures from the past year, I just don't know what to do with them.

I have lots of finished objects (two weeks on the road help progress the knitting goals), but I thought I would post tonight's pictures with a baby theme. Because who doesn't love babies?

First baby stop was in Detroit at Jai's house. Here I am at a safe distance- I'm kind of scared of holding babies because they always cry as soon as they get into my arms. So, I'll just stand over here and smile at the little cutie.But, oh wait, what's this? I am actually holding one?!?! And Jai's got one, too! Yes, she had twins. And doesn't she just look radiant and gorgeous and not at all like she is pretty much working non-stop around the clock with two little ones? Next stop was already in Maine. Amy's little guy arrived right on time and looks pretty fetching in a Vanessa original. (well, the pattern is from LMKG, but the color choice is all mine)

And, hey, here I am again holding another one! I am getting the hang of this after all! And another glowing photo of a new mother- this baby thing does wonders for your complexion, that's for sure. These ladies make it look so easy, but personally, I think I'll stick to working on my cradling hold for now.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Postcard from Spain: San Sebastian

This week's mystery town, San Sebastian, is also known as Donostia-San Sebastian. It is located in the Basque country of Spain, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. In addition to Spanish, they also speak Basque, or Euskera, there. Donostia is the Basque name for the town. [Spain actually has four official langauges: Castellano (Spanish), Gallego (Galician), Vasco (Basque or Euskera), and Catalan.]
In addition to its film and jazz festivals, San Sebastian is famous for its Playa Concha, a gorgeous semi-circular beach with an elegant walkway along its edge.

Friday, June 08, 2007

FIG Expedition 2007

In honor of the Lewis and Clark expedition that explored the western portion of America, the Fernandez Iglesias and Greene (FIG) team have embarked on their 2007 expedition to explore the Eastern US and Canada. Setting out from their base fort in Winona, MN in the early afternoon of Sunday, the 3rd of June, the first leg of our journey would entail establishing contacts with the neighboring Doval tribe on the outskirts of the Twin Cities encampment.Our team was welcomed with succulent vitals and bountiful beverages and given a cot that doubled as a sitting device during the day and upon which we passed the night in slumbering comfort.

The following morning, after another delicious meal prepared by the tribe’s matriarch, we proceeded north to another large Minnesota encampment, Duluth, that shared the mighty Mississippi shores with the Wisconsin settlement of Superior.Taking in the scenery, we unpacked the wagon to partake in a picnic lunch. Afterwards, the welcome party at the Duluth Welcome Center directed us to a well-used trail in the hills called Skyline Drive. Bumping along cracked pavement and weaving in and out of patches of trees, our team was treated to sweeping vistas of the river and town below.Our faithful travel companion, Mobi Ramekins, particularly enjoyed this leg of the trip as the slow going allowed for lowered windows and therefore lots of wind in the face. Near the trail’s end, in a portion called Seven Bridges Road, we passed over EIGHT such structures before coming face-to-face with an animal that appears to be quite plentiful in these parts- the white-tailed deer.Pushing further north, we encountered downpours that attempted to deter us from our next plan of action: finding the landmark known as Big Rock Lighthouse. We had been told that this region was welcoming to visitors and provided ample locations for making camp and exploring the area. Luckily, we found this to be so, and the weather seemed to want to cooperate. We set up camp in an isolated clearing quite close to the shore of the lake and within view of the sought marker that did indeed live up to its name in splendor and beauty.There were carts available when we arrived to bring our supplies more easily into the camp. Although we were tired from our journey, we mustered the quickly dwindling energy to put everything in order for the evening.
We did christen the place by a new name, however, due to some shenanigans by my travel partner, Captain FIG:
Henceforth, Big Rock Lighthouse will be known as:

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Postcard from Spain #2

This coastal mystery town used to be THE destination of chic Europeans around the time of World War I. Tourism is still huge here, especially during its world-renowned film festival every September and its jazz festival, one of the most prestigious in Europe.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mobi and the Llamas

Yesterday Mobi and I drove out to my friend Margaret's farm for a visit. She and her husband Jim have about 25 llamas total. The males and females are separated because if they were not, there would be non-stop breeding going on, obviously resulting in more llamas than would be manageable. (Margaret was much more eloquent in her explanation than I appear to be in mine).
Here are the boys:
Now the girls:

They are so funny because when they see something new that interests them, like Mobi, they all perk their ears up and run together towards the interesting specimen. They reminded me of a school of fish, with everyone turning simultaneously on cue.
After checking her out from afar, the llamas were ready to see what Mobi was about up close and personal. Aaaawwwww....They are so sweet, and like to give kisses. One actually came up to me and put its nose to mine. I took Caesar Millan's advice and tried to not make eye contact in order to not startle her (I know that's for dogs, but this was an instinctual not intellectual reaction). I had nothing to worry about, however, as they are just so gentle and friendly.