Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm about 2 feet into the scarf I started last night, about 1/3 done. I don't need this scarf, and I'm not currently attached to any charitable organizations that need it, so I'll likely give it to my friend who is currently living in Canada. Did I already say that?

I've neglected to say that, while I was doing the sleeves on the last project, I wanted a second short circular with a size 13 tip. The price of Addi Turbos has increased by several dollars since I last bought some, which caused me to hesitate. The clerk at the yarn store in Cannon Beach showed me the Knitpicks cable and tips, which, together, cost several dollars less than the Addis. I took them home, and fell in love.

The look of the Knitpicks is an obvious winner. I like the look of dyed and laminated wood; I'm on my second laminated wood walking stick. What I didn't know is that the cable does not twist from the memory of the package, as so many inexpensive cables do, but remains flexible and amenable to my every wish. The tips are satin-smooth, and so sharp that I had to change my hand positions to avoid injuring myself. This needle was a real pleasure to work with.

I've started experimenting with a recipe for the chocolate competition coming up in a few weeks. I don't win every year, only when I work at it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

True to my word, I didn't immediately start another knitting project when I finished the blue sweater. I didn't read "Huck Finn," either, which was what I had in mind when I said I'd read a book before starting another knitting project. It has been in the news a couple of times, lately, and I wanted to refresh my memory.

I didn't read "Huck Finn" because BBCA ran a marathon of "Top Gear" for the Memorial Day holiday. That's my favorite show of all time, and I can't simultaneously read a classic and watch "Top Gear." Scan a magazine or a catalog, sure, but not read a serious novel.

I was going stir crazy, spending two days watching TV without the benefit of a knitting project. I've long said that knitting is a nervous twitch that yields new clothes; without my nervous twitch of knitting, it was all I could do to avoid chewing my fingernails to the quick.

Finally, it struck me: While I hadn't read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," I had read through a Hawaiian cookbook I picked up at the Astoria Bicentennial opening weekend fair last week. That's a book, and it counts.

I now have another scarf started. I don't need another scarf, and no one in Los Angeles needs another scarf. I'm going to visit a friend in Canada next week. If I finish it by then, maybe I can give it to her.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I finished knitting the blue sweater yesterday, wove in the ends and blocked it this morning. Maybe I'll read a book before I start another knitting project. Lord knows, I have enough books in the house.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today, I finished the first sleeve and started the second. While it looks unacceptably feminine when it's crumpled on my lap, it looked fine when Tom modeled it for sleeve length. In fact, it may be the best-fitting sweater I've made him, yet.

My computer had become so slow and balky, in spite of Tom's ministrations, that we were both afraid we'd have to replace it. Tom went for one desperate last-ditch effort today, after which it works perfectly. Go fig. All he did was reboot it, which I've done three times in the last two days, to no avail.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I finished the torso of the blue sweater (super-bulky yarns work up so fast!), and started the first sleeve. The style doesn't look manly to me; if Tom refuses to wear it, I won't fault him a bit.

The problem with cooking every meal at home is that it generates a *ton* of dirty dishes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We're back in the Oregon of legend today, with grey skies and showers. I like it.

I'm having fun with a new project. I have been holding some thick-and-thin, 100% wool in bright blues and greens for years. I had not quite enough for a sweater, but way too much for a scarf/hat combo. I started to use it for a vest for Tom, since our anniversary is coming up, if only because, being bulky, it will knit up quickly. Besides, in my stash, yarn with no pink or red (anathema to Tom) is a rarity.

Today, while working on the front yoke, I decided to look through the stash for a coordinating yarn, in order to provide enough yarn to magically make sleeves. I came up with some bulky Lamb's Pride in a bright blue that coordinates perfectly with what I was already knitting. I believe, by adding a broad stripe all the way around the chest, and a corresponding stripe on the sleeves, I'll have enough to make an actual sweater, and not just a vest.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We had another beautiful, summer-like day today, all the more precious because it followed three days of gloom, and another week of gloom is predicted to follow. Tom and I drove down Lewis and Clark Road, to avoid the construction delays on the 101, and bought some candy at Bruce's in Cannon Beach.

I'm making a heavy wool sweater for Tom, completely inappropriate for the season. I didn't have any cotton yarn in stash, and didn't like what I saw in the yarn store in Cannon Beach. I did bid on some alpaca/cotton blend on eBay, so we'll know in a couple of days whether I'll be getting some summer-weight yarn in for Tom.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The red chenille scarf is finished, ends woven in, ready to wear.

I replaced the broken front doorknob. Funny, but the over-$1oo kit was lacking a few screws. They were there, all right, but one was too short, and two were vinyl. Vinyl! To hold the front doorknob onto my house? I don't think so. Tom went back to the hardware store to get a longer one of the one that was too short, and I salvaged brass replacements for the vinyl screws (vinyl screws!) from the old, broken doorknob. Fortunately, the interior screws weren't the part of the doorknob that had broken.

Now, I need a new project.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Any day that we drive into Portland, it's automatically a big day.

Today, we took in the fourth "Pirates" movie, on a big screen, in 3-D. We enjoyed the movie, but both of us found the 3-D effect distracting, and recommend that people save a couple of bucks, and watch it in 2-D.

After the movie, we got lunch at Panera. Good sandwiches, lousy baked goods generally. If you go for lunch, skip the sweet rolls for dessert. You can get better elsewhere.

We also did a little shopping: the satellite Powell's Bookstore, Fry's Electronics, a yarn store previously unknown to me called "For Yarn's Sake," and Trader Joe's for groceries. "For Yarn's Sake" was full of tempting goodies; I'm going to be sure to come back sometime when my pockets are feeling full.

I finished up the uncut part of the yarn I was using, the red rayon chenille. Rather than cast off at that point, I decided to go ahead and add in the little balls of yarn I couldn't get frogged, and had to cut free from the unsuccessful shawl. It'll only add a few inches, but the little balls of yarn themselves would have been lost and alone, if I hadn't used them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tom and I went to the festival celebrating Astoria's Bicentennial today. While we were there, they had Taiko drumming, Chinese lion dancers, and a bagpipe corps. We left in order to go to a reception at the other end of town, at which all our elected representatives were in attendance, including our Congressman, both Senators, and the Governor. After we left the site of the fair, they had Scandinavian dancing, hula dancing, Finnish singing, and a mariachi band.

The carnival was a perfect venue for schmoozing up the restaurant. The local Latino community was represented; I learned that I'm not the only Puerto Rican in town. Their booth was right next to the booth for the local Jewish community. Both were delighted with our coming restaurant. We also talked to a local artist, whose work I like. She'll be providing paintings for the restaurant; decoration in exchange for exposure. I hope that works out well, and that she sells some paintings that she'll be displaying there.

I'm glad to be free of the need to buy art for the space. The Puerto Rican posters I saw tended to be either political, ugly, or expensive. I did buy some pirate-themed movie posters for the men's room. I'm sure I have plenty of mermaid paintings/posters on hand for the ladies'.

The red scarf is almost finished. While I'm glad to finish projects, it means I'll have to pick out a new one. Fine yarn, or bulky? Fitted, or simple? Decisions, decisions.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spent day waiting for delivery of chairs for the restaurant. They arrived at 5 pm. If I had known we were the last delivery of the day, I would have done other stuff with my morning.

Since the chairs are second hand, they'll need refinishing, and reupholstery of the seats, to make them luxe. It'll be work, but we saved ~$3600 over the price of new.

Progress continues on the red chenille scarf.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Met with contractor. New, lower estimate. Signed contract, paid deposit. New drawings disappointing; money saved by making kitchen smaller. Oh, well. C'est la vie.

Lots of fun shopping for pirate posters for men's room.

Continued knitting chenille scarf.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This is an exciting place to live. I looked in the local paper to find out about an event this weekend, at which both senators and the governor are scheduled to appear. While looking for that, I found another story; a boat, participating in a race, was hit and de-masted by a breaching whale. No one was injured.


That's not something you hear about every day.

In knitting news, I finished Tom's scarf, and gave it to him. Since I can't do anything without having something in my hands, I pulled out a couple of recent projects that didn't meet my standards, and immediately started reusing the yarn from one of them. The rayon chenille that didn't really work for a mesh shawl is going to be used for a scarf. I'm not sure that rayon is the correct fiber for a scarf, since it has no warmth, but it's pretty. Maybe I can wear it in the summer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I bought a walk-in cooler for the restaurant today, and had enough left in the budget to get a big mixer, too.

Tom took Sarah to the vet today, because she has been listless lately, and unwilling to walk. She's now on antibiotics for an infected cut on her foot. After two doses, she's already much better.

I saw the photos of my knee, taken during surgery. It was a mess. Much better, now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Today, I phoned the restaurant supply house where we had shopped on the weekend. The Saturday crew had been so over-stressed that he told me he couldn't help me that day, and directed me to phone on Monday. When I did phone, I didn't ask for the man who didn't help me a few days ago, but the one who *did* a few weeks ago, when I bought the stoves and ovens.

He found me a freezer, and told me he'd look for a refrigerator and call me back. He didn't call me back. I'll call again tomorrow.

Yesterday, I finished the sweater, and started a scarf for Tom. I didn't post, because I was so over-tired I went to bed before sunset. I'm almost as tired today, but I was able to stay up late enough to see the full moon rise. It's so frequently cloudy here, that seeing the full moon is a treat for once or twice a year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Aha. The Blog was out of order for a few days, and lost a post-surgical post I thought I had posted post-surgery. Follow? I had been concerned that it was dead, but it seems to be back.

A short summary of the Once and Future Post: I recovered from the knee surgery with remarkable speed. I was on crutches for one day, a walker for one day, and then back to the usual. After the day of surgery, I haven't required any pain medication. In fact, I feel so good that (five days post-op) I forget that I'm convalescent, and am surprised that I tire quickly.

There was a rumor that the construction costs had spun wildly out of control, but I talked things over with the contractor. He understands that the budget we set is pretty much set in stone, so we have to cut amenities rather than raise the cost. Our restaurant won't be a lovely as we had imagined, but we will have a fully functioning kitchen. Oddly, the contractor's first suggestion, in order to cut costs, was to leave out the kitchen: truck in prepared food from elsewhere and just assemble and reheat on site. Gah! I'm an artist. Instead, we played with repositioning the stoves so the ducting from the hood can run in a straighter line. In addition, we'll skip the washer/dryer, and choose less expensive options for the refrigerators. It looks like we'll be ready to open in early July.

Tom and I went to Portland today, to shop for refrigerators. We didn't find the right one, but we did purchase 60 second-hand chairs. I'd much rather spend $20 each than $85, especially when we need so many. They'll be delivered to the house this Friday, which will give me several weeks to reupholster the seats.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hmm... I haven't posted since before the surgery. Well, it caused me so little pain that I teased Tom that maybe I hadn't had surgery after all. As far as I could tell, I fell asleep and woke up in the same place, with no difference except a large bandage on my left leg.

I was very, very stoned from the anesthesia, and slept most of Monday.

Tuesday, I decided that, as I had little pain, I wouldn't take the narcotic prescribed. I had no reason to regret this, as Motrin did fine in controlling what little post-surgical pain I had.

I used crutches on Monday, and a walker on Tuesday. Tom pronounced me "amazing" on Tuesday, as I did all my usual chores.

Today, Wednesday, I haven't even used the walker. That's not completely true; I'm using it as an end table, since my real end table is covered with knitting supplies and reading material. I've been making up for all the knitting I haven't done the last couple of days. I've finished the torso of the sweater, including casting off the shoulders with a 3-needle bind off. I've also done almost half of one sleeve, so there's a possibility I'll finish this week. I still have three skeins of yarn, so I have every reason to think I'll have enough yarn.

It's lucky that I've discovered that a plain, drop-shoulder is a good style for me. It's easy, and flattering.

The bad news is that I've heard a rumor that the final estimate for the restaurant remodel is double the preliminary estimate. As the preliminary estimate was double our first guess, and approximated our worst-case scenario, doubling that makes the restaurant impossible. When we get the number, if it's out of range, I'll just tell the contractor, "This is our budget. If we can't do it with this, there won't be a restaurant." We're not completely out of options. We might be able to take over another restaurant, which would need minimal remodeling, or we might be able to work out of a truck or a cart of some kind. I really want to get to work in a commercial kitchen of some kind!

Of course, Plan C is to sell the LA house, and declare ourselves retired.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Today was the season opener of the Sunday Market, so we took that in. I bought some razor clams, some nice, fresh veggies, and a couple of skeins of hand-dyed yarn. Sure, it meant breaking my yarn fast, but I weighed that against supporting local artists, and decided to go for supporting local artists. It's a nice, bulky... alpaca? I forgot, but it's in mostly grey, with bright accents. It's tagged as a future scarf for Tom.

I may not make much progress on my sweater for a day or two. I'm having knee surgery in the morning, so I'm likely to be knocked out for the rest of the day (I'm notorious for being hard to rouse, post anesthesia), and seriously stoned on pain meds for a couple of days after that.

Adios, y buena suerte a todos.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

We took in "Thor" today. It was a waste of two hours.

Friday, May 06, 2011

While I spent most of today knitting and watching TV, as I didn't get enough sleep overnight, I'm still exhausted.

I finished the front of the Noro sweater tonight. I knit a steek into it, so the stripes would match on both sides of the neck. I'll save cutting the steek until the very end, as I have no extra yarn. If I cut the steek, and then decided to change something, I'd be out of luck.

Did I mention that the volcanoes on the way home were really something to see?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

It's easy to forget to blog when you're that... tired.

Yesterday, we arrived back in Astoria, tired but intact. I don't know exactly what route Tom took. We both took the 395 to Reno the first day, but our paths diverged yesterday. I took the 395 as far as Susanville. From there, I took a road that slanted less east, and picked up the 97 in Klamath Falls. It was a sparkling clear day, so I could see Mt. Shasta even from that distance. Except when the forest blocked my view, I could see characteristic volcanic cones all the way from Shasta to the Columbia basin, sometimes as many as 10 at a time. I tend to crave volcanic landscapes; I got my fill, yesterday.

More another time. Now, the sandman calls.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Contrary to our previous plans, we're still in LA. We found out Saturday that there was a plumbing problem in the kitchen, which out usual plumber is busily fixing as I type. Ah, the joys of home ownership.

Tom and I took Sharon to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire yesterday. My knee had been getting better since the drive up, leading me to hope that I'd be able to cancel the surgery planned for next week. Nope. I was on my feet most of the day, and had to be wheeled out in a chair. While grocery shopping today, little old ladies kept opening doors for me, so my limp must have been beyond noticeable. On the up side, I have reason to believe Tom bought me a gift at the Faire; I'll just have to wait a few weeks.

Since my knees were sore, I kept my ethnic-grocery-store marathon down to two stores, the Persian market (actually, broadly international) at San Fernando Mission and Balboa, and the Italian bakery in the same parking lot. Yumyumyum. Among other things, I bought 7 cans of fried eggplant, so I'll be able to survive until I either visit LA again, or find out where in Portland I can purchase it.

Big news yesterday, huh? Osama dead. It didn't take long for the Right to claim credit for Bush, and the Left to berate the nation as a whole for celebrating the death of a man. Well, I don't think my actions have been out of line. I haven't been dancing in the streets; I've been going about my usual business, doing laundry, buying groceries, assisting with home repairs. Those who have been dancing in the streets, I would excuse. The man who died, after all, was directly responsible for 3,000 American deaths, and indirectly responsible for thousands more. If the stories are true, that he used his own wife as a shield when American forces invaded his hideout, that only compounds his rottenness. Whatever the proprieties involved, I can't mourn the man. The world is better without him.