Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tom just figured out today that his unemployment benefits are almost exhausted. Since his main reason for staying in California after I relocate to Oregon was to avoid losing his unemployment benefits, he'll likely be moving up the same time I do, or shortly after. He does have some family obligations to keep him in California until late January. We've already looked into having someone rent the LA house at a reduced rate in exchange for watering the yard.

I talked to the engineer about ventilation for the storefront we were looking to convert into a restaurant. His professional opinion? It'll be easy-peasy. Okay, he didn't phrase it exactly that way, more like, "No problem."

Tom and I both woke up very, very early this morning. The upside of that was that I had done a day's worth of chores by 9 am. The downside is that I've had hours and hours to fill since then. What I really want to do is pack the car and take a load to Astoria, but I have things I have to do here in California every few days until almost Christmas. If I were to pack now, the car would be full, and thereby useless for routine errands. The bread slicer is already taking up most of the cargo space in Tom's car, so mine is doing double duty.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It was a good day to go to Disneyland. The sky was as blue as blue, but it was cool enough to wear long sleeves in comfort. As it was a school day, the crowds were light, and the lines were short. We got to see the holiday overlays on the rides that use them, which were different than in previous years.

When Tom and I first got together, we went to D-land twice a month. That got old, after a while, and we went less often. As I'm now planning to move to Oregon in another month or so, and finances won't likely let us renew our annual passes this year, I'm wanting to go twice a week until I leave. Well, until school lets out for Christmas, at least.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Had another lovely day, today. After hitting the farmers' market, Tom and I went to an orchid show in Santa Barbara, and then finished our Christmas shopping in Solvang. While I did hit a couple of yarn stores in Solvang, I didn't buy anything. I know what my next three or four (or five) projects are going to be, and I have yarn for them already. Any more would be redundant.

I haven't been doing much knitting this week. I've been spending more time reading, both in preparation for the restaurant, and as part of cleaning house for our annual Mid-Winter Holiday party, coming up in a few weeks. I'm just obsessive enough that I have to at least look through the catalogs before I can throw them away.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leftover Day may be a better holiday than Thanksgiving. The house is already clean, the food is already cooked, and you don't have to set the table.

Happy Leftover Day, everybody!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm happy to say that I'm completely recovered. It's a good thing, too, since Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I'm hosting.

So far, I've made cranberry sauce, wiped the boiled-over cranberry sauce off the stove, and the pumpkin cheesecake is in the oven. I made the crust for that out of cornflakes, because I didn't realize I was out of graham crackers until it was too late to buy some. Sure, the stores are open, but I've been in grocery stores on the day before Thanksgiving (shudder!).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The word for the day yesterday was "prostration." That's medicalese for "too weak and sick to get out of bed." Okay, technically, I was out of bed. I spent the day draped over the sofa, too weak to even make a cup of tea. Tom brought me tea, and chicken soup from Cafe Orient for supper. I transferred back from the sofa to bed at 7:30, wondering whether I would recover in time for Thanksgiving. One of my guests is elderly; I wouldn't want to give her the flu.

Today, the word is "convalescent." I'm feeling much better, thank you, well enough not only to get my own tea, but to also get dressed and do laundry. I'm well enough to wash dishes as well, but I might fake that one.

I've also been well enough to sit up and knit today. I'm almost ready to turn the heel on the first of a pair of lovely grey alpaca socks for Tom. I'm not making them as enormous bags for felting, as the yarn is fine, and size 1 needles require a lot of knitting to make enormous bags. I'm just making them a little oversized, so they'll fit right if I full them a little. There's a lot of fine-tuning to be done, in this business of keeping one's family's feet covered.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I was right about the headache yesterday being foreshadowing. I'm taking the day off.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It was a pretty day today, as it always is after a rain. We didn't spend much time outside, just the farmers' market and the wholesale grocer. Most of the day we spent catching up on some of the TV we missed while we were in Oregon recently.

Nikki is shedding, bigtime. I understand why she sheds in spring, but this business of replacing her whole coat at the beginning of winter doesn't make sense to me. Her fur is thinner now than it was in August, and now it's getting chilly.

Again, not much knitting done today. While I was home most of the day, I had a headache. I hope I'm not coming down with something.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's been an intense day.

Tom noticed a bump on the belly of our beloved dachshund, Sarah, last night, so he took her to the vet today. The vet says it's a tumor, probably benign, but did a biopsy just to be sure. As Tom lost both his parents to cancer, he's hypersensitive, and had to have a good cry before he could get on with his day. (The dog looks and acts like she feels fine.)

After the vet, we drove out to the back of beyond to pick up the bread slicer I bought online yesterday. Yes, Virginia, Rancho Cucamonga is a real place, and we got not only the bread slicer there, but a very edible lunch at Farmer Boy's. I used to live a few blocks from a Farmer Boy's, which has a very good local reputation, but had never eaten there. It straddles the line between fast food and a family restaurant. I was tempted for a time to ask whether they sell franchises, but didn't say anything. Buying a franchise is no way to go, for someone who likes to be creative in the kitchen.

Buying the bread slicer was our first irrevocable move toward owning a restaurant. The scouting trip over the last couple of weeks could be excused as a vacation, but a commercial slicer weighing hundreds of pounds isn't something I'd use in my home kitchen.

There was little knitting, today. Even after we got home from Rancho Cucamonga, playing with the pets seemed like a better use of my time than more stockinette. I don't think I mentioned that I pulled out the sock I had been knitting for Tom, with the intention of felting it, as I didn't have enough yarn. I was knitting it huge, to allow for felting. Currently, I'm knitting another, in his real size, with the intention of washing it by hand. Felted socks are very comfortable, but knitting super-sized socks on size 1 needles requires more patience than I have.

I saw some sweaters I liked in an Irish catalog tonight, but I can't bring myself to buy them. I have yarn, and skill; I should be making my own sweaters.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I've come to the halfway point of the alpaca sock yarn I have on hand, while knitting what is intended to be a pair of felted alpaca socks for Tom. Since they are to be felted, I'm knitting them as enormous bags, so they'll shrink to fit when washed. At the halfway point, the leg on the first sock is only 2" long. Since men don't wear anklets, and I can't get any more of this yarn, I'm faced with pulling out the whole thing and starting over.

I do have a skein of the same yarn in a different, but coordinating, colorway. If I pull the first one out, I can make a pair with contrasting heel, toe, and cuff. There's even a slight possibility that I can do this before Christmas. I'm glad we don't exchange gifts for Chanukah, since that's extraordinarily early this year.

On the restaurant front, I've performed the first irrevocable act; I've bought a commercial bread slicer. As with all commercial equipment, it cost twice as much as I had figured. C'est la guerre.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I went with a few friends to Brent's tonight, purely for research purposes. Brent's is the best deli in LA; their pastrami is the best I've ever tasted. With 20 years' practice I couldn't do as well.

And I hired an engineer to check out the storefront. I also bid on a couple of stoves for the restaurant; I've already been outbid on one. We'll see how it checks out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The prospective landlord at the spot where we want to open our restaurant promised to phone if he gets a nibble on the storefront before Tom and I make a firm offer, but I don't think I gave him our phone numbers. Before we commit to rent, we have to get an engineer out there, to see whether we can convert the building to our needs within budget.

I'm continuing to knit an enormous pair of alpaca socks for Tom, since alpaca is so soft and nice when it's felted. I hope I have enough yarn.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We priced commercial stoves today. I carried my notebook into the restaurant supply houses, but didn't write anything down. Mentally, I just noted "thousands" to each item. I was pleased that, in the second store we went to, the amount of "thousands" each item cost started, in most cases, with a "1" rather than a "2," as they had at the first store.

I keep telling Tom that we haven't done anything irrevocable. Until we sign a lease and buy stoves and things, we can change our minds and not do anything.

Since there's a local lack of good rye bread, I made my own today. It was great, the equal of the best bakery rye I've ever tasted. It's also a lot of work, so I can expect to be working inhuman hours until I can get a good staff trained.

There's also a lack of good pastrami. Tom expects me to make my own. I don't think he understands how exacting an artform curing meat can be. Just because I can make good brined turkey and chicken, and passable bacon, doesn't mean I know the first thing about pastrami.

Okay, off to look up pastrami on the Internet...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sorry about the absence-- I've been super-busy, getting ready to open a restaurant in a few months. I cooked professionally for years, but I never actually opened a restaurant before, and the workload is unbelievable. I did, when I was working as a nurse, open a "discreet unit" in a hospital, but there I had the advantage that I was working in a building that had been a hospital before. Now, I'm trying to put a restaurant into a building that used to be a tanning salon. Other than already having four walls, a floor, and a ceiling, I'm pretty much starting from scratch.

I like this new cordless keyboard. I'm making fewer typos than usual.

I'm also using an unfamiliar washing machine. I managed to felt another pair of Tom's socks. They fit me perfectly, now, so I won't have to felt them any further. Tom was very surprised when I cast on another pair in the same yarn. I told him I'd knit him another pair, but he didn't know I had another skein of the same yarn stashed away. Rather than commit myself to always washing these by hand, I'm going to knit hugely enormous bags, and let them full in the first wash. I love the socks I ruined for him yesterday; the felting makes them very thick and smooth and warm.

I did finish the peach-sage-gold top this morning. It was too cool to wear it today, and I noticed that the subdued colorway isn't really flattering to my skin tones. I wore it over a coral-colored long-sleeved t-shirt, and killed two birds at once.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I started reading a textbook about running a restaurant, today. I've concluded that we're nowhere near ready to start. I can picture the space in my mind, and I've half-composed the menu, but business plans, and ordering equipment...

I think I'll leave the boring stuff to Tom.

In the meantime, I'm almost up to the armhole divide, on the last rayon top of summer. I should have it finished by the time the weather turns cool and rainy again, after the current heat wave.

Tom fixed the problem with Mediterranean Air Conditioning. They have a new manager, who was very apologetic, and happily canceled the "service fee" for the visit during which we received no service.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I've had better days. My back is killing me, a pain pill didn't help the pain, but depressed my mood, our former air conditioner company gave us to a collection agency, it was over 100* F today, and the Republicans got control of the House.

For the information of anyone who might read this, the air conditioning company was Mediterranean. We were good customers for a decade, spending over $50,000 on equipment and services, in spite of getting consistently terrible service from them-- broken equipment, failed installations, even dropping an air conditioning unit through the next-door-neighbor's wall. The last straw was a few years ago, when they came to the house, told me they couldn't tell what was wrong with our AC but would try to come back a few hours later, and asked for payment of the service call fee. Since they had neither diagnosed the problem, nor given me an estimate of the cost to fix it, I refused to pay. After all, no service had been rendered. When I phoned the company, asking that a different technician be sent, the manager called me stupid. I told him not to bother sending anyone, and called another company, which fixed the problem immediately.

Mediterranean sent us a bill, which we returned with an explanation of why we weren't going to pay. When they sent us a dunning notice, we notified the Better Business Bureau, which did nothing. Mediterranean has continued to dun us, and now has referred the matter to a collection agency.

Heck, if they had fixed the damn air conditioner, I would have paid the same day. Since they didn't, and couldn't, I don't see any good reason to give them my money.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tom and I went to a financial planner today, to talk about the feasibility of opening a restaurant. After reviewing Tom's paperwork, he enthusiastically told us that with Tom's attention to detail, not only would our place be a guaranteed success, but Tom could probably do consulting work for other restaurants in town.

The cool weather didn't hold. I'm glad I have plenty of sleeveless rayon tops.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Keith Olbermann has responded to my tweets 3 times, now. I think that makes us official acquaintances. Maybe distant acquaintances.

It was warm today, so the teal rayon top I finished something like ten days ago got its debut. I didn't get any compliments on it, but, seeing how I only saw my pain doc and his receptionist, commenting on my clothes would have been unprofessional. It's the simplest possible shape, just a rectangle with arm holes, but it drapes nicely.

And the new top, the one I'm knitting from the yarn I frogged out of the old top I never wore, goes round and round. The colors are great-- peach, sage, and old gold-- which amuses me no end, in the knitting of it.