Spring Break at Harrison Lake

Posted: April 12, 2014 in Ramblings

A natural hot spring exists at the base of Harrison Lake, and a resort town of sorts has grown up around this. So we decided to visit it for five days over wet, cold spring break.

We were all afire with plans for hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and taking a boat tour around this rather large lake. The day before we left, I telephoned to find out the name of the ranches that offered trail riding, and was told that they don’t offer it in this season because the weather is too wet. Well, this was not enough of a damper to stop us going. We went.

Day 1: Recce in the town, found the marina where the canoe rentals are, basically poked all around the place and went swimming in the hotel pools, which are fed from the hot spring. That was really nice. There is an indoor big hot tub, an indoor sort of spa pool, an outdoor thigh-deep ‘family pool’ (mostly full of adults sitting around resting, while their kids played), an outdoor lap pool (not a single person in it the whole time we were there), an outdoor baby pool (empty of water), and an adult pool restricted to people over 18. We went to the pools every day and spent most of our time wandering between the indoor spa pool and the outdoor family pool. Dinner at an awesome German restaurant called the Black Forest. Alex had linguine :-)

Day 2: Discovered Chris hadn’t brought a memory card for his camera, so we drove the 20 miles back to the nearest shopping town, located a Target, and got a memory card and a new waterproof for Chris, and then found an English café across the street where we sat down to a full English minus the fried slice. (Alex had strawberry-rhubarb pie with custard.) Chris and the owner had a long chat about carbs and meals. Alex bought some sweets. After this, we went back to the hotel and loafed around until it was time to go wait for the tour boat.

Well, we sat at that dock from 2:45 until 4:15 (the boat was supposed to depart at 3:30) and finally gave it up. Later, I contacted the tour boat people, whose ad said “April through September – tours daily at 1 and 3:30,” and they said they’d stopped offering April tours due to lack of interest. Nuts. Went for a little walk/hike to the building that houses the source of the hot springs, and then off to the pools again. Just to be safe we then checked to see if the canoe people were doing rentals, and they don’t do them in April due to lack of interest. BLEAH!

Day 3: Took a really nice long hike. Well, it wasn’t that far but it took a long time! The guidebook said “goes almost straight up for the first 150 meters” and they weren’t kidding. It took us about half an hour to do the first 500 yards, and then an hour to do the rest of the 3-mile round-trip. We ended up at a little place called Sandy Cove, which is…a cove…that is sandy…and then floundered around in the woods trying to find the trail to come back. By the time we did get back, we were all footsore, and it would have been a perfect time to reward ourselves with some ice cream, except that we’re all on this damn diet! We tramped all over town trying to find a lunch place that wasn’t limited to sandwiches, and couldn’t. We ended up getting boxed salads from the hotel café, because the hotel restaurant closes between 2 and 5. This is a pretty serious black mark against them, and I mentioned it in my post-visit survey.

Day 4: We had gotten a tour brochure from a town called Hope, some miles to the East, with several attractions we were interested in seeing. We drove all along the Trans Canada Highway through majestic scenery (but not much else) where Alex fell asleep, and ended up at the Hell’s Gate tram, which we thought, from the brochure, was a gondola that went across a deep ravine. Unfortunately it was not. It was a gondola whose path mirrored the mountainside, down into the ravine itself. A very short gondola ride. But we would still have done it, except that…they do not open in April, due to lack of &^@%# interest! Argh. Chris took some pics and we drove back to the hotel, quite disgruntled at the way this was turning out.

Rather than staying the fourth night in the hotel (because the beds were very wobbly and every time Chris or I even blinked, the bed wobbled), we decided to have one last dip in the pools and head for home. We did this, and got back around 8pm, to a couple of happy cats.

Lesson: don’t go anywhere cold and wet over spring break!

Panorama from our hotel room.

Panorama from our hotel room.

View from Sandy Cove back towards the hotel.

View from Sandy Cove back towards the hotel.

Alex investigating the water's edge at Sandy Cove.

Alex investigating the water’s edge at Sandy Cove.

The base of the ravine for Hell's Gate.

The base of the ravine for Hell’s Gate.

Yum.

Yum.

For a long time I’ve been playing around with custom designs, intending to have them put on a Rickshaw messenger bag at Zazzle, but somehow I always got fed up with the design at the final fence. Today I achieved one that I love, and ordered a bag with this design, and have decided to open a store there and list other designs for sale.

Right now all I have is this one bag (the one I’ve made for myself) but I hope to have other messenger bag designs available on and off. I may also purchase some of them to resell in the Etsy store.

Looks like it’s going to take 24 hours before this all appears. Stop by sometime!

Stash Cleanout

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Ramblings

For those of you who are (a) knitters and (b) fond of grab bags, today I listed a big stashdown on ebay at the low starting price of $9.99. It’s at least 8lbs of oddballs, single skeins I’ve received but don’t like, bad dye jobs, and stuff that’s been in my stash since the dawnatime and I’m sick of looking at it. Stop by and take a peek; maybe you’ll want to take a chance on the contents. Or buy it to donate to a charity. I just want it out of here.

Instagram Woes

Posted: February 19, 2014 in Ramblings

Wow, when I discovered Instagram I thought it was going to be great. Take a pic from my phone, and it auto uploads? Much better than “take a pic from my phone, download it to the computer, upload it, and link to it.”

I kept visiting Instagram’s website, which is very non-intuitive, and the FAQ implied it was only for iOS and Android. Nuts! Discrimination against Windows Phone users (again). But many months later I discovered (only thanks to you-know-who) that there is in fact a beta version of it available for Windows Phone, but you have to get it from the phone’s app store. This seemed logical (after the fact), so I did it. (Prior to this I had been using the Windows 8 App Store on my Surface and not finding anything.)

Point 1: When it works right, it works well! It really is a good thing and saves me a lot of steps; I can now link Flog posts on the fly! Heh heh.

Point 2: But when it doesn’t, it’s abysmal. Oh, the beta software hasn’t actually broken. It’s just that I’ve found so many annoyances in using it.

For example:

There is no way to contact a help desk. There’s a list of canned FAQ/Support issues on the website (not on the phone app), but if your problem isn’t listed there, you’re stuck (and all the questions are about problems with iOS and Android anyway). There is no “contact us” page. There doesn’t appear to be a community support page like a forum, either.

Why would I want to contact the help desk, I hear you asking, if the software works right? Well, after taking a photo, the option “Scale and Crop” appears. I usually use this app to take full-body photos of the outfit of the day, so I can post it to Ravelry (these are my “Flog posts”). Instagram crops my head off! I can’t scale it smaller, only enlarge it. Not what I want. I want my whole self, head to toe, in the pic, but can’t do it. So all my recent Flogs are “with head cut off.”

The other huge annoyance is that the actual Instagram web page is basically a viewer’s page. You can’t do much, if you’re on a desktop, with your Instagram photos. I like to take them while out and about, and then add captions and tags and whatever from the desktop, once I get home. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to do it. The web page (clicking the Home icon) just shows me a chronological scroll of my pictures interspersed with those of the people I follow. Clicking on my own username takes me to a collage of my own photos, where I can either leave a “comment” or get the HTML to embed the picture somewhere. That’s it!

I also can’t figure out how to search on a tag! I’m at my desk right now (as you maybe have guessed), and have been switching between this tab and the Instagram tab while I write this. I see tags on a lot of pics from friends, but I have no idea how to search on a tag that doesn’t appear on the page right now. Phooey.

Add to this that Ravelry won’t let me use Instagram to do project or stash photos – because they don’t want people to upload crappy photos. Funny, because some of the pattern photos are of WIPs or are blurry or focus on the designer’s face instead of the knitted design. Seriously, if I’m happy with crappy photos, why should Ravelry care? A user suggested it’s because they’re trying to build a sharing community; that’s great. Right. But what if I didn’t have a fancy camera and a hosted website? Am I therefore to be penalized in the photos department, because my cell phone only takes cheap pictures?

Strangely enough Ravelry does allow it in the forums.

At any rate, I think I may bin this app and start looking elsewhere for quick-uploading joy. Anybody got any suggestions?

All Gone

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Ramblings

Well, it took a little longer than I’d expected, but it’s all melted.

Snow This Morning

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Ramblings

Those weathermen are good. They said it would stop snowing around 2AM. I woke up at 2:15 and it had stopped!

This morning's view.

This morning’s view.

Snowing in Seattle

Posted: February 8, 2014 in Ramblings

Yep. Here is a photo showing the blurry snow falling near the street lamp. There is not much on the ground right now, but I’m guessing by morning there will be something to show, and by tomorrow noon it will all be gone.

First snow of the season.

First snow of the season.