Saturday, April 30, 2011

Almost a week since I've blogged? Unbelievable. Uh... I've been busy?

The drive from Oregon to LA was stunning. In the north, everything was green, and beginning to bloom. There was snow on the mountains in good amounts,and the reservoirs were full. The countryside looked healthy.

My knee feels enough better that I've been able to enjoy a bit of shopping, and a boatload of socializing. I've even been able to do some minor repairs around the house, although not nearly as much as I had intended to.

One of my goals for this trip was to find and fetch a stash of upholstery fabric I bought something on the order of 20 years ago. My ex gave me the chairs I bought the fabric for, so it seemed reasonable that I finish the job. So far, although I have looked in a couple of likely spots, I haven't found it. Of course, I'm also not in the same house I was when I bought the fabric. The mauve I bought to go in Riverside might not be too comfortable with the blue and brown scheme of the dining room in Astoria.

Speaking of color schemes... I got an email from the interior designer who works with my architect in Oregon. She told me she had picked out a great color scheme for the restaurant: Bright blue, chartreuse, and orange. It happens that I had not asked for her to assist in any way, I had shown her the colors I had already chosen for myself, AND the last two colors named are the ones I have hated like poison since early childhood. I emailed back that I was sorry if she had gotten the impression that I had hired her, as I had not, and did not want any further input. Well, I might not have been quite as dispassionate as that. I might have used the phrase "hate like poison."

I'm afraid I didn't take the designer's suggestions at all well. I was in a trembling rage for hours; I really felt as if my turf had been invaded. I'm open to the possibility that I was experiencing a bit of ethnic insult; after all, I'm a Puerto Rican getting ready to open a Puerto Rican restaurant, and here's this white chick telling me what colors to use. I really don't think that's the case, though. I think it was personal. I've been pretty easy on the rest of the contractors, because they've asked me what I wanted, Do you want exposed pipes, or a dropped ceiling? Do you want built-in counters, or free-standing? It didn't sit well with me, that this total stranger came at me with, "I've chosen your color scheme," as if I were some colorblind monkey who needed rescue.

Thus endeth the rant.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My knee is worse every day. This trip to LA is going to be a bit of a trial.

The sweater is coming along nicely. I wish I had done it top-down, though, as I have my doubts about how much yarn I have available. I like my sweaters 15-17 inches long below the armholes, but I'm not sure I'll have enough yarn to make sleeves if I do it that long. It's 13 inches now, which is long enough in a pinch, but I'd hate to make the sweater shorter than I actually want to, and then have a whole skein of yarn leftover.

It's still looking good, though, and I haven't yet started to get tired of it.

Too bad it's going to be warm in LA. I have 3 nice sweaters, two cowls, and a couple of scarves I didn't have when I left.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We drove out to the eagle sanctuary east of town, where we saw (at a distance) a pair of eagles in nuptial flight, and later a juvenile close up.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the warmest yet this year, at 59 degrees. The rain comes back tonight.

Other than that, the day was spent as usual, knitting, cooking, and watching TV.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It was a gorgeous, sunny day today, so Tom took us up to the top of Coxcomb Hill to admire the view. Wow.

I'm still making good progress on the sweater, and still enjoying the stitch pattern. It's a basketweave that builds as a 3x5 rib. Knit three rows, then a row of knit, then the same rib with the polarity reversed. In each row, the wider rib is the purl. This makes a very convincing basket texture.

My back's a lot better, today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My back was no better today, so I let Tom convince me to see a doctor. I screamed when the doc, actually a nurse practitioner, lifted my left leg. It was the knee, rather than the back, that caused me to scream, but it was enough for the doc to give me a prescription for just enough pain pills to last me until I could see my regular pain doc back in LA.

Since I hate the side effects of narcotics, I'm only taking about half the ordered dose, but it's enough to take the edge off the pain, which is all I ask.

It's quite amazing how quickly the knitting gets done, when you stop frogging for redesign, and just knit. It looks good, too. It's not as girly as I usually make for myself, but, since the last three sweaters I've made have been pink, it was time for a change.

This one is red.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My back was hurting today, so I spent it at home, knitting. Well, first I had to decide on a design. Once I had, I knit a few repeats of the stitch pattern, measured my gauge, and realized I had cast on too many stitches to continue with this pattern. I had allowed enough room for cable crossovers. Since I ultimately chose a simple knit/purl stitch, I would have had almost 10 inches of ease, if I had continued.

If I had made a plan first, instead of starting and ripping out repeatedly these last four or so days, I'd be done by now. Instead, I have three inches done, just as I had last night, just as I have had twice a day since I started.

It's going to look great, though. I picked a nice basketweave.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Knee surgery scheduled for May 9.

Monday, April 18, 2011

While Tom was out taking care of his own errands, I got a call from the contractor, asking to be let into the storefront, and hinting that he needed a key. I lept up, had a couple of keys made, and met him at the location, where I met with a couple of other folks who will be working on the restaurant remodeling.

Okay, that's not much, but I've been acting pretty helpless ever since dislocating my knee for the third time. Tom has been driving me everywhere, walking the dogs by himself, and doing most of the marketing. The only things I've consistently kept up with are light chores around the house: cooking, washing the dishes, laundry. It doesn't help that I've pinched strategically important nerves in my back a couple of times in the last few days. I have an appointment with the pain doc next week, and it can't come soon enough.

On the new sweater, the one out of Big Kureyon, I knit a few inches, pulled it back, knit a few more inches, pulled it back again, knit a few inches. So far, I've netted about 3 inches of sweater. The fabric seems a bit on the bulletproof side. I wonder whether I'll pull it out again tomorrow, and start again with larger needles?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I finished that chenille shawl this morning. I'm not totally happy with it; since chenille locks up, failing to slide smoothly against itself, the mesh fabric isn't as smooth as it might be. I just have to pretend it's a feature, not a bug.

After a lovely outing to the state parks in the far northwestern corner of the state, I pulled out a sweater I knit three years ago. I never wore it, because it fit like a sausage casing. I love the yarn, which has been discontinued, so I wanted to knit it up again into something I actually could wear.

I thought it was too tight because it was in a ribbed pattern. After knitting a swatch, I found that I'd have had to add 20 stitches to have it fit, even in stockinette. Since I still want to use a rib, I added over 50 stitches to the count. I hope it doesn't fit like a circus tent, this time. I also hope I can locate the extra skeins of the same yarn I bought when I learned this yarn (Big Kureyon) was discontinued. I used the extra skeins from the original batch, a gift from Sharon when I first started knitting, to make a jacket. It's a great jacket, my own design, which I wore to the beach today. While it was plenty warm in the depths of winter in California, it's not quite warm enough in Oregon even in spring. The wind goes right through you!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Almost out of that red chenille yarn, so I guess my shawl is almost done. It would have been finished, but I didn't start knitting until noon, and then we went for a drive. To take advantage of the clearest day in weeks, we drove down to the elk reserve near Jewell. The elk weren't home, but it's still a pretty drive.

This time of year, every road cut in Oregon features a waterfall that, if it were in California, people would hike five miles to see.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today, I started knitting with a nice red rayon chenille I picked up in Cambria last year. I thought it would soothe my nerves, it being such a pretty color, and such a nice, fat yarn that would knit up quickly.

That almost didn't work. Even though the skein was tied in about 6 places, it tangled terminally as soon as I cut the knots. It took five hours for me to roll it into a ball. Once rolled, however, it behaved as required. I'm knitting a nice triangular shawl in my trademark mesh stitch. In just a couple of hours, I had a decent-sized scarf. I'd have finished the shawl by now, if we hadn't scored tickets to the new Astor Street Opry Company production of "The Real Lewis and Clark, or How the Finns Discovered the Pacific." That was fun.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Well, I used up the lavender-blue laceweight silk/mohair blend that I was making a summerweight bolero out of. It had flutter sleeves. I tried it on.

It doesn't fit, and isn't becoming.

Heavy sigh.

I'm going to wait a day or three before frogging it out.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I've finished the shaping of the front; now, all I have to do is knit until I'm almost out of yarn, and then stitch up the shoulder seams and weave in the ends.

The weather was pleasant and spring-like most of the day. Shortly before sunset, the living room was simultaneously bathed in golden light, and rattled with hail on the roof. We dashed outside, and, yes, there was a full 180 degree rainbow in the east. Tom dashed inside again quickly, as we were in a significant squall with no protective gear, but I stayed a bit longer. I'm a sucker for atmospheric effects.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tom and I had another meeting with the architect and contractor, this time with the interior decorator sitting in. I think we may have made some progress.

Knitwise, I'm now working on shaping the front of the laceweight sweater. It looks like it'll be done in time for my trip to LA in a couple of weeks.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Had my MRI today. My hope is that the doc will take one look, and say, "Yes, I see the problem. That'll take five minutes to fix; you'll be fine in two weeks." Unlikely, but possible.
Met Harry Shearer.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

You know what I've realized? In order to get up off the floor, I kneel on one leg and push up with the other. With the dislocated kneecap, I can neither kneel on, nor push up with, my left leg. This makes it very, very hard to get up off the floor.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The weather has been nice the last couple of days!

Yesterday, for Tom's birthday, we drove down the coast to Newport. Gorgeous, gorgeous drive. I'm not sure I've ever seen the Oregon coast look fresher or more inviting. Since it has been a very wet winter, seasonal waterfalls have sprung up over every rock.

I had to attach the sleeves to the back of the laceweight sweater twice. The first time, I managed somehow to twist the sleeve, turning it into some kind of weird mobius thing. It's all straightened out, now.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I've knit enough of the back, now, that I can sew it to the backs of the sleeves, and proceed from there.

I made a delicious coffee cake today. I made a rich, sweet yeast dough, with 3c flour, 1 1/2t salt, 1/3 c sugar, 2 t yeast, 1 c milk, 6T butter, 1 egg, and 1/2t freshly grated nutmeg. After the requisite risings and kneadings, I stretched it into an oblong, and coated it with about half a batch of butterscotch pudding from Jane and Michael Stern's "Square Meals" cookbook. I rolled it up like a jelly roll, plopped it into a pam-ed bundt pan, and baked at 350 for 45 minutes, after letting it rise again, of course. Delish.

I already gave Tom the polo shirts I bought him for his birthday. I don't feel it's much of a gift. If I had something better, more original and romantic, I'd give him polo shirts just because he needs them, not because it's his birthday.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I spent some time away by myself today. My purpose in getting out was to get Tom a gift; his birthday is in two days. Since he occasionally looks in on this blog, I can't comment on my success or lack thereof. I can make a couple of observations, though.

One was that, while I went into a knitting store wearing a lovely handmade sweater, none of the knitters in the shop commented. The clerk at another shop remarked that it was lovely, but none of the knitters.

The other is that I am now officially old. The clerk at another store asked whether I'd like the senior discount. I told her I was too young, but she gave it to me anyway. Oh, well. Six bucks is six bucks.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Dull day. Rain. Knitting. TV.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I finished the sleeves last night. Today, I tried to knit the back onto the sleeves by picking up the stitches, but couldn't keep it straight. I pulled it out and started over with the back, knitting it as a separate piece. I'll sew the back onto the sleeves, and then start the clever shaping that will bring the sides and front together. It's very EZ.

Tom and I drove out to Longview, WA, today. There may be lovely parts of town, but, except for a couple of urban parks, they're not on the highway. It seems to consist mainly of cheap, ugly houses and chain stores. Again, that's just on the highway. I'm glad we're not living there. Shopping may be limited here, but the charm in Astoria is infinite.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

We saw the sun today, for the first time since February. We were glad to see it.

I'm still taking it easy. The knee feels a little better, now that I'm not pushing myself.

Two more rows, and both sleeves to the laceweight sweater will be finished. Then, all I'll have to do is knit the body.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Another day of much knitting accomplished.

Not having access to a charcoal barbecue right now, I tried a tri tip in the oven. I used the same recipe I found on the 'net last year, which is to cover the meat with cheap mustard and kosher salt. On the grill, the prescription is 20 minutes per side over direct heat. In the oven, I tried 40 minutes at 500 degrees. It came out good, but not as good as over charcoal, of course. You miss that good smoke flavor. For some reason, too, the roast seemed saltier done in the oven than over charcoal. My best guess is that, done over charcoal, the mustard burns and flakes off, taking most of the salt with it. In the oven, the mustard, and the salt, stay in place.