Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Staycation Days 2 and 3: The Royal Ballet and Northampton

The past two days we had some exciting times on our staycation!

Tuesday began fairly basic. We decided to do a nice cleaning of our house. We do a pretty extensive cleaning every weekend on Sunday. This week, we ended up moving our normal Sunday cleaning to Tuesday, so (as recompense) we did a complete basement clean.

For those who are interested, our weekly clean goes like this:
- Clean bathroom:
     - Wipe down counters and sink with Clorox wipes.
     - Clean toilet inside and wipe down outside
     - Scrub tub and bleach grout (monthly only)
     Total time: 10 minutes (25 minutes, with tub)
- Clean kitchen:
     - Wipe down all counters with Green Works all purpose spray
     - Wipe down stove and clean cook-top (with cleaner approved for ceramic cook-tops)
     - Wipe down dishwasher
     - Clean toaster oven and microwave
     - Remove anything from the fridge that won't get eaten / is past date and wipe down shelves and wash    
        out crisper drawers
     Total time: 20 minutes
- Dust living room, bed room, and office:
     - Use compressed air on electronics
     - Use lint roller to remove cat hair from all chairs, curtains, and bedding
     - Dust all surfaces, walls, pictures, and ceiling
     Total time: 45 minutes (estimated -- Seth does this chore not me)
- Vacuum all rooms including stairs and under the bed in the bedroom
     Total time: 45 minutes

So basically, it takes us a little over an hour to clean the main living areas of our townhouse every week. Our house is 900 square feet, so this is all very manageable.

For the semi-finished basement, I usually vacuum in every other week, and we dust down there every month or so. This probably takes an additional half an hour (just because we do it less frequently.) Also, throughout the week we do washes and ironing every other day. We're pretty tidy, so our house stays fairly neat pretty much all of the time.

After our day of cleaning, we wanted to do something fun in the evening. Earlier this month, while at the movies, Seth discovered that Cinemark was doing a Ballet in Cinema series.

We're very lucky that the local movie theater, Cinemark, has a lot of cultural programming. We usually go there a couple of times a season to see Live in HD productions from the Met Opera. We also go to see Broadway productions -- we've seen Les Miserables in Concert, Phantom of the Opera in Concert, Company in Concert, and the Melbourne cast performing Love Never Dies. We also saw the Bolshoi ballet perform Elmeralda.

This time, we went to see the Royal Ballet (of London) perform the comedic ballet La Fille Mal Gardee. It was absolutely wonderful! The ballet had some fun elements, featuring a beautiful pas de duex with ribbon and a unique clog dance. It was a really fun production. I am always mesmerized when we go to see the ballet -- I think no art is more concerned with beauty than ballet. It's a joy to watch.

Today, we decided to spend a day in nearby Northampton. I had an audiobook that I wanted to pick up at Northampton's Forbes Library.

Seth had never been to Forbes, so it was great to get to show him around this library, which is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Definitely my favorite. (Also, notably, the home of the Calvin Coolidge President Library and Museum. Coolidge was from Northampton.)

After a trip to Forbes, we decided to walk over to Webs, the biggest yarn store in America, and, for me, our local yarn store. 

I've been wanting to knit the Pan Am Jacket pattern that I saw in this past fall's issue of Interweave Knit.

I have the yarn and and the pattern and plan to start it soon, but the pattern is a bit intimidating. I decided that I wanted to have a blanket to knit while working on the sweater. 

I have recently taken a break from blanket knitting -- first I made the falling leaves shawl and then the cabled caplet from knit.wear. I have to do a very small bit of finishing on the caplet, which I'll do around the holidays when I am getting ready to give it to my step-mom as a gift. 

Because of this blanket break, I am ready to make a new one. I decided on the Talon Throw by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed.

After some browsing at Webs, Seth and I picked out one of their Valley Yarns called Amherst. We had originally wanted to get it in burgundy, basically Seth's favorite color. (His exact favorite is maroon.) They didn't have the 26 balls I needed, and we didn't feel like ordering them. We had also loved the color sweet pea and decided to get that. I've knit a lot of blue blankets, so I am excited to do a bright cheery green one.

After Webs, we browsed some additional stores in Northampton. Northampton is a really fun town to have right around the corner! It's one of the best towns for local art in America. It's also a famous LGBT community. The town, similar to Amherst, features loads of local businesses and great restaurants. Northampton is more of a city than Amherst -- I think of it as Amherst's bigger brother. There are a lot more shops, many with unique artisan items that you couldn't find anywhere else. Northampton also doubles as the town where I work, as it's home to Smith College. It's fun to spend time window shopping downtown and people watching when not at work.

In addition to our fun adventure in Northampton today, we did a bit of rearranging at home. We had a papasan chair that Seth's brother and sister in law lent us. We decided to move that chair out of the bedroom into the office to replace the recliner we had in their. The papasan chair is comfortable, and I felt it would get more use if it was in the office. We made the swap.

Here was the office before. You can see the recliner in the left of the picture (which is kind of an old image).

Here's the office now. I think the chair fits quite nicely.

I had to look way back in the archives to find a picture with the papasan chair in the bedroom, but I found one from 2009.

Here is the bedroom now with the recliner. Visually the recliner is not my favorite piece of furniture, but it was very nice of Seth's late grandmother to give us this chair, and we really do enjoy having it to sit on. I think it will work quite well in the bedroom. It seems to take up a bit less space and should be easier to get around.

A busy and fun couple of days. I'll post soon about our next adventures!

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