Friday, December 31, 2010

We're back early from the New Year's Eve party at the Coffee Gallery. Half of our party was fighting a cold, and, frankly, I'm too old to stay up past midnight, and still do justice to two parties tomorrow. Three parties in 24 hours-- that's half my year's total.

While TCM played Cary Grant movies all day, and Marx Brothers all night, I actually spent my knitting time watching Vincent Price movies I had recorded on Halloween. We'll lose everything we have recorded when we move, since the movies are on a box rented from the satellite company. That's the one way in which DVR is inferior to the old way of recording movies on home VHS.

I finished the first sleeve on the pink cabled sweater, which took less than two skeins of yarn. Since I had 5 skeins for the two sleeves, I'll be able to make the body a smidge longer before I cast off. Yay.

Happy New Year to all. Good riddance to 2010, which has been a hard one for most of us. May we all have peace, prosperity, and happiness in the coming year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I don't know how I miscrossed one cable in a row. All the cables in any given row cross the same way, so it doesn't make sense that the rest were right, and one was wrong. When I discovered the error a few rows later, I was so determined not to tink back to the mistake that I took it upon myself to figure out how to fix it with a crochet hook. I didn't do a good enough job to enter the sweater in a county fair, but the mistake wouldn't be visible from a galloping horse.

As cold as it is, I wish I had started this sweater a week or two earlier, so it'd be done by now. I left most of my woolen sweaters in Oregon, since it "never" gets this cold in LA. Our furnace had failed sometime while we were gone, and can't be fixed until next week. With the aide of space heaters, we can keep two rooms tolerably warm, but we're wearing sweatshirts indoors to endure forays to the rest of the house. As Tom has observed, we should have stayed in northern Oregon, where we were warm.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today, I found that I had miscrossed all the cables in one panel, several rows after doing it. I frogged and reknit. It's as long as I need it to be, but I'm not doing the terminal ribbing until after I do the sleeves, to make sure I have enough yarn. The first sleeve is started.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We're back in LA; we hurried back in advance of the next storm. Now, our furnace isn't working, so we're a lot colder than we were in Oregon, at least indoors. I could use that cabled sweater that isn't finished, yet.

Oregon to LA and back is a seriously long drive.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

When I picked up my knitting this morning, I noticed that I had mis-crossed two cables, two rows before the row I was then knitting. I thought about fixing them with a crochet hook, then remembered that I don't know how to do that. I thought about letting it go, but it was the kind of error that would have been visible from a galloping horse, so I tinked back the two rows and fixed it. On the bright side, I found two skeins of that yarn that I had forgotten, so I'm no longer working under the spectre of running out of yarn. The body is nearly done, then come the sleeves.

I wouldn't have it done in time for the snow showers predicted later this week, but I'll be back in LA by then, anyway.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It has been a quiet Christmas indoors for me. My knee has been acting up, and, with the dueling "Dr. Who" and "Mythbusters" marathons on our newly-installed satellite TV system, there's not much reason to go out in the rain, anyway.

Murray Christmas to all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We seem to be in business. We signed a lease on a storefront in Astoria yesterday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Apropos of the seals at the Seaside Aquarium: we were there when the staff fed them. The seals crowded around the person feeding them, competing for her attention like puppies in a kennel. In the wild, harbor seals are so shy of human contact that, if they see a person looking at them, they will slip into the water. If a person handles a wild seal's pup, mama is likely to abandon it.

The seals at the Seaside Aquarium have been bred in captivity for several generations. Their behaviour no more resembles that of wild seals than that of dogs resembles the behaviour of wild wolves.

The octopuses were pretty hip, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We kept the appointment we made with the local volunteer from the Small Business Administration, which was our ostensible reason for coming here. He spent the first half of our hour together trying to talk us out of starting a business during a recession. If there were no recession, Tom would have a job, and we wouldn't need to start a business. Duh.

Feeding the seals at the old aquarium was more fun. Also, on the drive over, I saw a flock of bufflehead ducks. At least I think they were buffleheads; I'm no expert.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When I did the laundry last night, I learned too late that Tom had left a pill box in his pocket. The pills had left a bright blue, plastic-like residue on all the clothes in the load. By this, I know that, whatever they put in those pills, it is not soluble in warm water, nor dispersible with detergents. Good Lord, what is he swallowing?

I'd be angrier, if that load hadn't been almost entirely HIS clothes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The party Saturday went fine, in spite of the heavy, all day rain.

Sunday and today have been spent in driving to Astoria (housesitter in place). I'm beginning to think this is an unrealistic commute.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I have no idea how anyone musters the organizational skills to move; I'm barely managing to get it together enough to make Christmas happen.

My party is tomorrow. I have baked two cakes, which won't deteriorate noticeably in one day. All the food and beverages I will need are already in the house except for rye bread and ice, which Tom will acquire tomorrow. At this time, I should either light a fire to smoke the pastrami, or butcher the chickens that will be cooked with rice tomorrow. What I'd rather do is sit in front of the TV and watch the shows I missed last night.

We went to Disneyland last night, figuring it was our last chance to see the Christmas lights and fireworks before school let out for winter break. Disneyland can be intolerably crowded when school's not in session, so I saw it as our last chance. If we do end up in Oregon full-time, as opposed to summers only, trips to D-land will become rare. We've already decided not to renew our annual passes this year, since our income is uncertain and our address is changing. I've promised Tom one more trip together before I move to Oregon, after the New Year. He'll have more chances to go, as he's still planning to commute back and forth between Astoria and LA for a while. Our passes still have a few months on them.

So busy. So busy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I've finished the funnel neck on my new project, a pink wool cabled sweater, and an inch or two down the shoulders. There'll be one cable down each sleeve, and down the front and back as well, but that cable will have ten strands and be about 8 inches wide. Why do things by halves?

I saw the pain doc this morning. As my back was so bad, and I am leaving town without knowing when I'll be able to find another pain doc, he gave me twice the usual number of injections into my spine (12 instead of 6? I lost count.). I was in a lot of pain for several hours, but it was no worse than the back pain I've had for the underlying condition. I'm feeling much better now; thanks for asking.

There's so much to do! Our annual Generic Mid-Winter Holiday Party looms in three days. Because of back pain, I haven't started to get ready for it. Since there's a lot of cleaning to be done, and food to be bought, I'll be busy, but Tom also wants to find time to go to D-land again before the schools close for Christmas vacation. I also have to pack the car for our trip Sunday: as many boxes of books and housewares I can fit into my car. In addition, we're planning to take an old friend out for his birthday before we leave. For someone who doesn't have a job, I'm awfully busy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I have achieved pastrami. I've been experimenting with recipes ever since I found out, a month ago, that good pastrami is not available in Astoria. Tom has been eating my experiments, and approved the current one. Relief.

I also spent much of the day knitting swatches. I was designing a cabled sweater for myself, and didn't want to find out in the middle of a sweater that a given stitch was either beyond my abilities or that I didn't like it. As it turned out, I didn't like the 5-strand cable I found in the book, but a 10-strand cable I devised myself (using the same principals as in the given cable recipe) turned out fine. That discovery turned my plans on their head: literally. I pulled out the bottom edge I had already knitted, and re-cast-on from the top down.

It's a good thing I knit those swatches.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I went to the pain doc today, but couldn't get treated because the power was out. Since he uses an x-ray machine to guide him in making injections into my spine, I was happy to reschedule for Wednesday. Luckily, I felt a lot better today than I did yesterday.

I finished the scarf I started for Tom last night. It's in Misti Alpaca Chunky, knit in 1x1 rib on size 13 needles. Tom likes it, as it's soft and squishy. It also matches a hat I made him a couple of years back.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I spent most of the day flat on the sofa, disabled by a backache. I'm not sure whether I should go to my usual pain doc tomorrow, or urgent care, but I'm going to do one or the other.

I did spend the morning working out a cable design for the pink sweater. I'm not totally sure I'll have enough yarn, as cables eat yarn, or if the stitch count I cast on will be roomy enough, once I've done the crossovers. In either case, I want to practice some of the stitches (unfamiliar to me) on swatches, rather than take a chance on having to frog out the whole sweater if I have trouble with a stitch.

While looking for waste yarn to practice stitches on, I located yarn that matches a hat I gave Tom a couple of years ago, so somehow a scarf for Christmas has leapfrogged to the head of the queue. I also found some linen/merino blend that matches a problem tank top. I knit the whole top in stockinette, so of course the armholes and neckline curl unattractively. Now that I have the right yarn at hand, I can knit up a nice border, and have something I can wear. Since I'm moving to Oregon in winter, I think I should consider this particular garment a vest, rather than a tank top.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I finished knitting the alpaca socks last night, and felted them this morning. Tom is wearing them now, and has pronounced them "comfortably soft and warm."

I found the pink thick-and-thin I bought last year at Village Spin and Weave in Solvang. I bought it with the intention of doing a proper Aran cable knit sweater, but now I'm having doubts. The yarn is quite bulky. Add in cables, and I'd have another polar-weight sweater. I don't think I need either the warmth or the bulk that cables would add. In the meantime, I knit a band of seed stitch for the lower edge, while I decide what to do with the rest.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Other than taking an hour out for yard clean-up, I've spent most of today watching Bernie Sanders filibuster the Republican tax "compromise." I have two observations:

I'm watching history being made.

Bernie *isn't* too old to run for President, after all.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

We've found a long-term housesitter. She's the college-student daughter of an old friend, who thinks free rent in exchange for watering the yard is a heck of a deal. I'm glad of that.

I wish I had the time to rent a small trailer and take a load of books/yarn/fabric/collectibles to Oregon before our party next week, but I have easily enough housecleaning that has to be done before the party that it won't happen.

Tom has arranged for our computer/phone/TV connections to be installed on our next visit, just before Christmas. It looks like this is going to happen.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I finished the Ushya scarf before heading off to San Simeon Monday. Inevitably, the weather, while pleasantly cool, wasn't nearly cold enough to allow the wearing of such a heavy scarf.

All week, except for a cold and foggy Monday afternoon, the sky and sea were heartbreakingly blue. The adult male elephant seals were arriving in force, their bulk displaying their power, their hopes and ambitions for the upcoming breeding season. Some floated just offshore, bellowing in their tympanic voices, "I'm here, and I'm ready to fight." I bawled like a baby when I said, "Goodbye."

I'm going to miss the seals, and I'm going to miss my colleagues in Friends of the Elephant Seal.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The super bulky yarn I bought in Santa Barbara last Friday was Ushya, by Mirasol. It looks like a tube of I-cord. It was the object of much fascination among the crafters at a party I went to Saturday night. No, it wasn't a crafting party, but we're everywhere, aren't we? I brought along a scarf to knit, which I had cast on that afternoon. By the time the party broke up, it was 4 feet long. I didn't knit much yesterday, but finished it in a few minutes this morning.

I'll have a new, warm scarf to wear on my last week on the bluff at San Simeon. While I was getting a little tired (after 5+ years) of going away for three days each month, I'm going to miss many aspects of that volunteer job.

Gotta run-- I'm not even packed!

Friday, December 03, 2010

I spent the day in Santa Barbara with Sharon. We went to the Craft and Folk Art show and sale at the museum, after which we had a late lunch at the Palace, and I introduced her to a (very expensive!) yarn store with which she had been previously unacquainted. Altogether, it was a completely satisfying day. My favorite bit? I picked up three skeins of a massive, braided merino yarn in a deep and glowing teal. That's going to be a scarf, and I'm going to keep it.

Before going to Santa Barbara, I finished Sock One of the current pair, and cast on Sock Two. I'll probably knit myself a teal scarf before I get much farther on the sock, but that's of no concern. It's a super, super bulky yarn, so it'll knit up in moments.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The neighbor, the same one who cut my lemon tree back ten feet from the fence, did something similar nearer the house. She said she wanted to remove the extension from the fence, and take down the ivy. I said "okay," because, some months ago, that did seem okay.

I shouldn't say "she." While it was the mom who spoke to me, I think it was her son who did the work. A week or so ago, I noticed that the extension on the fence hadn't been so much taken down as pushed over, crushing everything within five feet of the fence, on my side. The honeysuckle and my roses had been removed, crushed, or pushed over, as well as the ivy. All privacy once provided by the lush plantings had been negated, and I was gifted with a view of her crummy shed and stacks of discarded tires. So far this week, I've removed four giant bins worth of plant debris, and one of metal debris from the fence. I'm exhausted, and very, very discouraged.

In sock news, I determined that I was no way going to get an 8" leg out of the single skein of alpaca I had. The way I figure, 8" is the minimum length for the leg on a man's sock; men don't wear anklets. I'll do a stripe or two of a pleasingly contrasting colorway, to get the necessary length. I have two other skeins of alpaca sock yarn, all in coordinating colorways. I think I can get two pair of socks out of the total three skeins of yarn.

While I was looking for the alpaca sock yarn, I pulled down a few skeins of bamboo sock yarn. Yeah, right. I really need to knit two more pair of socks for Tom. What I really need are some sweaters for myself!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tom may have been mistaken about losing his unemployment benefits soon. While I'll miss him if I move to Oregon much before he does, the income does give us a bit of breathing room.

I finished reading the latest Bill Bryson book today. It's not his best; that'd have to be "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," his knockout memoirs. This new one (title escaping me currently) is pretty good, though.

Still not much progress on the socks. I'm not a good enough knitter to read and knit simultaneously. A movie or two would help.