Watching the Shows I Love When Travelling

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When I travel, I like to leave the comforts of home at home. Traveling is supposed to be about trying something new. About experiencing a different culture and going a bit outside of your comfort zone. In my mind, re-creating a carbon copy of your everyday life somewhere else is a wasted opportunity.

That said, there is one thing that I have always missed when going abroad. Those who know me, know that I have a bit of an addiction to certain HGTV shows. And whenever I go anywhere outside the US, I always lament that I must put those habits on hold.

Now, before you call me a hypocrite, let me explain myself. In my opinion, there is a significant difference between recreating your entire home and routine in another country or taking an opportunity to relax after a long day with a guilty pleasure that is familiar to you and that you know you will enjoy.

In my mind, watching a TV show before retiring for the evening is akin to reading a good book. And who here has never brought a book from home when traveling? It used to be one of my favorite past times and learning resources.

Relaxing after a long day of exploring

As I discovered years ago, when vacationing in another country, the odds of watching your favorite channel and show on local TV are slim to none. Every place has its own programming in its own language, and that is, of course, fair enough. And this is where I thought the internet comes to the rescue. Theoretically, all I have to do is go to HGTV’s website, and I can rewatch any episode from earlier in the day with their on-demand streaming service.

Well not so fast as it turns out. For several reasons that have been made clear to me by those more in the know, watching an American TV online video abroad does not work. The first time I heard that my heart sank, figuratively speaking of course. After all, it is just a TV show. Still, I was not impressed.

Enter my friend Jake to the rescue. He and his technological wisdom introduced me to something called a virtual private network, or VPN in tech lingo. I’m not sure of the exact details and how it does it, but basically a VPN lets you digitally pretend you’re in the US when you’re actually somewhere else in the world. And that, in turn, allows you to watch anything you could when were back at home.

And you know what? It works like a charm. On my recent Mexico trip, after a long day of exploring and experiencing, I was able to kick back and enjoy my guilty pleasures for thirty minutes or so every evening. Does life get any better?

Watching US shows abroad with a VPN

If that sounds like heaven to you, Jake hooked my up with a service called Express VPN. Take a look. But, he also said that any other just like it would do. Because you’re streaming video, the important thing to check is that the VPN speed test shows good enough performance to watch without any interruptions. If you go with a VPN company that is too slow, you might as well just bring that book, since reading it is all you will be able to do.

I only talked about the US and shows from American websites, but I have been assured that this will work for any country in the world. So for all my friends in England and other parts of the world, the next time you find yourself in Asia or visiting me, you can just follow the same steps.

And there you go. Maybe this post wasn’t as interesting to you like some of my other ones, but if you’re a kindred spirit when it comes to travel habits, I wholly recommend this is something you investigate.

Knitting for Others

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I have wanted to knit a cozy winter sweater for myself. I just don’t see the point. There are holiday knits to be completed and cute baby knits to be made. I am so huge now that I can’t think of time I’ll be able to fit into something I put together myself. I am also boiling all the time. I swear this is like nothing I have ever experienced. I am normally a cold natured person, so this is especially exciting for me. Wool sweaters are not my friends right now.

Sure, I have Smarty to fit and cloth. But some days I just miss my old body and watching her stand there all smug in one of my sweaters just isn’t fun. Exactly how a headless dummy exudes smugness is beyond me – but she does!

To celebrate that thing that is beautiful and never seen here:

A shawl/scarf that I made for my Mom, yarn bought here by her ages ago. It’s Cherry Tree Hill Baby Loop Mohair in Winterberry. The pattern was a free pattern that came with the yarn (purchased at New York Knits, a LYS near my parent’s house). It’s a simple knit that went fast. I bought a scarf pin at New Hampshire Sheep and Wool and sent it off to my Mom as a birthday/mothers day/Christmas/oh-what-ever present. (Have you ever sent these. The gifts that have no occasion, yet fulfill every opportunity?!)

In other news Melanie is sick, and she knit this awesome hat for the baby. I cried when I saw it. Thanks, Melanie.

Git Me Some Learnin’

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I am a visual learner. I can learn from a book, but it’s hit or miss and largely dependent on the kind of book (or website). I do best with diagrams unless I have a firm grasp of the language of the craft. Many of you learned to knit from a book. There is absolutely no frigging way I could have done this. I admire those who can because there are fewer hurdles in your quest for knowledge. I learned from a teacher (a great teacher) in a formal classroom atmosphere. It was one of the best things that I have done for myself.

I have been craving knitting knowledge lately and thinking that a workshop or a class might do me some good. I want to develop my skills, learn new techniques and tricks, and be challenged but also be given the tools to tackle that problem. Because without the tools, I’d just get frustrated. There is also always a good YouTube video, of course.


Take, for example, cabling without a cable needle. I have read multiple tutorials on how to do it as well as watched videos and peaked at detailed illustrations on the web. I just didn’t like it or wasn’t doing it right or just found it frustrating. So, I kept on keeping on with my cable needle. Not a bad way to do things, for sure.

You may know by now that the television show Knitty Gritty has moved to HGTV, a channel that we get. Knitty Gritty and DVR combine to make a powerful knitting force. I can fast forward through the fun fur, teenie boppers, fake laughing, and other irritating aspects of the show and distil it down to bits of incredibly useful information. Ms. Annie Modesitt was on a few weeks/months ago (episode 210, first aired Spring 2005) and during her time on the camera, she showed how to cable without a cable needle, and I got it! Instantly. Soon after I found myself in the car on our way to my parent’s house in Upstate NY for Christmas. I was making mittens for my mom and wanted to set a cable down the middle of the back of the mitten. Alas, I was unarmed with the traditional cable needle, but I found I didn’t need it. I had instant recall of Annie’s technique, and I was able to flawlessly execute it to a strong mitten finish. No hurdle, no frustration.

As a result, I am on a quest for knitting knowledge. A Google search didn’t yield any opportunities. My LYS has a few but none that I am interested in taking. I am in the process of searching through the archives of a few local listservs. In the meantime how have you all found workshops, classes, or other non-traditional learning opportunities? I know wool festivals are great places for these types of things….but spring is a long way off, and with the new baby I am not sure when or where I’ll be able to travel!

Maybe I should just take this class at my local community center I sure don’t know how to pearl!