Saturday, July 30, 2011

I did finish the mat yesterday, border and all, leaving me today with no excuse for putting off recovering those chair seats.

I did 19 today. I only stopped when I did because it got too late to pound on the staples with a hammer to set them: wouldn't want to wake the neighbors. They look so cute with the brightly-colored canvas we bought for them last week.

I have a house guest coming either tomorrow or the day after. With all the things for the restaurant lying around, it looks like an episode of "Hoarders" in here. The space will be ready in a few days, so I'm not highly motivated to stash chairs downstairs, or any such thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The summers in coastal Oregon definitely make up for the rather dreary winters. The weather is beyond perfect, during a summer in which the rest of the country is suffering historic heat waves.

It's a little dull, with Tom out of town, but his absence has given me a lot of crafting time. I'm 2/3 done with the border on the mat; if I work on it all day, I may finish tomorrow.

Of course, then I'll have no excuse not to recover the chair seats. Wouldn't it be funny, if I were to completely fall in love with upholstering, considering how long I've been putting this job off?
Finished the lettered part of the mat today, and started the border. Tom's on his way to LA, so I'm eating things he can't tolerate, and watching lots of documentaries on TV.

Still have many chores to do before I can open the restaurant. The remodeling is coming along.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mostly done on the mat, unless I make it larger. Since I have plenty of yarn, I'll be adding a border.

I sit up straighter, apparently, when I needlepoint than when I knit. I've had no back pain at all since starting the mat. On the other hand, my right hand is so swollen and sore I can't wear my rings. Oh, yeah, that's why I dropped needlepoint in the first place.

Today, it's off to Beaverton to pick up culinary staples. I keep hearing about "arroz con gandules" as a staple of the Puerto Rican diet, if not the national dish. My mom came from Puerto Rico, and I've never seen such a thing, or heard her speak of it. I looked it up online, to see whether we call gandules, aka "pigeon peas" something else, here on the West Coast, and I knew it by another name. Nope, gandules are something that has not penetrated Latino culture this far west.

I kept looking, though, and found that gandules are native to Asia, from whence they went to Africa and became part of the staple diet. They came to the Americas with the slave trade. Okay, so they're an obligatory feature in Afro-Caribbean cuisine. Given the theme of my soon-t0-be-realized restaurant, I'd better have them on the menu. Can I find them? Sure. In India, they're known as "arhar dal" or "toor dal." There are more Indians on the West Coast then there are Puerto Ricans, so I'll look for them at an Indian store. I could get them online, but I don't want to commit to ordering 50# of them, in order to qualify for free postage. If I don't like them, I won't have them on the menu. I also don't want to pay the flat rate $10 postage for trying out a small amount. Now, this isn't completely logical; it takes $20 worth of gas to drive to Beaverton and back, but we have other things we can do while we're there.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I've made good progress on the mat. I think the four skeins of blue yarn I bought for the background will do it, but I'll still see whether I can get more. I'm of the "bigger is better" school of thought.

Tom and I saw "Captain America" this afternoon. What a fun movie! I haven't enjoyed a comic-book-based movie so much since the first "Iron Man." It kinda makes up for not having gone to Comic Con.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I did try hooking the mat, but, as it's a new technique for me, I quickly reverted to my beloved old needlepoint. What fun! I used to be addicted to needlepoint, and I have the stack of finished by unframed canvases to prove it. I gave it up when my thumb was so badly affected by arthritis that I couldn't hold a needle. I had the affected joint replaced years ago, but, by the time I had recovered from the surgery, I had transferred my addiction to knitting.

Anyway, I finished the lettering on the mat today, and got a good head start on the background.

Summer has definitely arrived in the Northwest, though not with the vengeance it has wreaked on the rest of the country. Here, it was clear and 70 degrees. I was very disappointed that Washington has started charging for admission to state parks that were, last year, free. Sure, we could have paid to go to the lighthouse, but, as we were starving and ready to go to lunch, we were only planning to stay a few minutes. Who wants to shell out several dollars to glance at a view? Next time, we'll go *after* we've eaten, and pay the fare.

Or, we can go south instead of north. We bought an annual pass to Oregon state parks, since there's a nice one near here.

The rye bread came out just fine. I used the same ingredients and proportions as my standard recipe, but cut the complexity of the technique from 6 steps over 3 days to 2 steps over 2 days. That will make my life much easier, once I open the restaurant. I'll have to make both bagels and rye bread daily. I should also see whether I can make bolillos, since I can't get proper bolillos here. The "sandwich rolls" locally available don't bear much resemblance to the French-style rolls I need for a proper Cuban sandwich.

Tom is happy to be my primary taste-tester.

The news this weekend has been grim. Scores dead in the politically-motivated attacks in Norway, dozens in a train accident in China, the murders of a handful of guests at a birthday party at a roller rink, plane crashes, brush fires, and poor Amy Winehouse found dead at 27. It would be easy to become depressed.
I meant to post last night, but somehow forgot to.

The second batch of bagels came out fine. Maybe a bagel-purist from New York wouldn't accept them, but they delighted Tom and me. Bagel-purists from New York don't accept anything from anywhere else, anyway, so there'd be no point in trying for that ideal. Today, I'm baking off an experimental loaf of rye bread. The recipe I've been using, which turns out great, involves six steps undertaken over three days. I'm checking to see whether I can get an almost-as-good result with two steps over two days. If it works, it'll be a tremendous time-saver in the restaurant.

I spent yesterday buying yarn, downloading fonts, translating the chosen font onto a graph, and then transposing the graph onto rug canvas. Since custom mats cost a fortune anyway, I'm going ahead with the plan to make a "Shalom, Amigos" mat for the restaurant. At 5 stitches to the inch, it shouldn't take long. The next decision is whether to hook it, or stitch it. I'll try hooking, first.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I finished the rainbow scarf today, which is to say I ran out of yarn and cast off. I went to JoAnn's to get supplies for a floor mat with our slogan, "Shalom, Amigos!", to be stitched or hooked by me. The potential price for such a thing scared me off (in excess of $100), so I just got some fabric to cover the chairs in question, which was also $100.

Since egg bagels are unobtainable for love or money here in the Northwest, I'm going to have to bake my own. I started practicing today. The first batch came out okay, not great. Since I want to have great bagels at my restaurant, I'll be practicing daily until I get them right.

I've read through a cook book Tom inherited from his mom. I was surprised to find a couple of my old favorites there, which I had never identified as "Jewish." I had also been surprised when I re-read Claudia Roden's book; I found some dishes there that I specifically knew as Puerto Rican. People move around, I guess, and pick up recipes wherever they go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The scarf is now six feet long. I could quit any time, but, as I don't have enough left to make a matching hat, I'll keep knitting.

I've washed enough chairs for the front of the restaurant. Tomorrow, I'll start recovering the seats.

I'm afraid I'm getting a bit paranoid about the mosquitoes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There was a lovely sunset tonight, which I watched from the middle of a cloud of mosquitoes. I found this less charming than last night's eagles.

I have no idea what bird we were listening to tonight, but it was playing a recognizable melody. It sounded like the first four bars of a march.

I'm about half done with a scarf in Lorna's Laces bulky superwash wool in the Rainbow colorway.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I finished the scarf I was working on, garter stitch stripes of black and teal, knit crosswise so the stripes run lengthwise. I intended it as a Christmas present for Tom, but I gave it to him, as he commented that it looked nice.

I tried on the last sweater I made, the colorwork alpaca. Yes, I need to lengthen the sleeves. I'm not looking forward to that. I ran out of the last color I worked the sleeves in, so I'll have to lengthen them in the middle, which is a tad more complicated.

I scrubbed 18 of the chairs we bought second-hand for the restaurant. I'm not accustomed to working that hard, so I'm sooooooore!

An eagle family has moved into a tree a block from our house. Tom and I saw a shooting star while we were pinpointing the eagles' nest. God, I love living in Astoria.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When it came down to it, I was reluctant to paint the chairs. I'll clean them, first, and see how they look. If they still look crummy, I'll paint them.

So glad to be in cool, drizzly coastal Oregon, rather than hot, dry LA.

The scarf continues.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I skipped the Harry Potter film 7a, not wanting to take the long wait until 7b. Tom put the DVD on for me tonight, in order to give me the necessary background for the finale, which we planned to see tomorrow.

I found it dark, depressing, and incoherent. I didn't finish 7a, and will go ahead and skip 7b entirely. That may be sacrilege, but it's my 2-3 hours.

What I need to do is paint and reupholster the chairs for the restaurant.

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's just as well that no one reads this blog, since I haven't been posting regularly. Since the last post, I've been to LA and back, and finished the pink/grey alpaca sweater-- sort of. The sleeves are short, I can't lengthen them by adding onto the cuffs as I've run out of that color of yarn, and I'm too lazy to lengthen them in the middle, as Madame Pink-hair (I can never remember her name-- the Canadian designer/teacher who used to be an engineer for the Merchant Marine. See, I know her bio, just not her name.) teaches. In addition, there are about a million ends to weave in, thanks to moth damage that forced me to use many, many short lengths of yarn, and the whole thing has to be blocked. Other than that, it's done.

I'm glad to be back in the Land Where Water Comes from the Sky. It's raining now. And, since I finished (sort of) the sweater, I've started a new project. Since the last one was a three-color colorwork sweater that I designed on the fly, the current project is a garter stitch scarf, to allow recovery time. It uses up nice skeins that I bought in small quantities, so that's a good thing, right? And it gives me a head start on Christmas.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I had a physical today. As usual, the doc gave me a bunch of pointers on how to lose weight. How long will it take to educate people that fat people aren't fat because they're ignorant of proper diet and nutrition, but because there's some biological abnormality in play?

Anyway, I have to have some blood drawn, and have another visit with the doc in a few weeks.

Tom and I went to the dress rehearsal of "Shanghaied in Astoria" tonight. That's always enjoyable.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I was frustrated at the shortage in the house of dishes, cereal bowls, and forks, so Tom and I went shopping at various thrift shops and antique stores around town. We saw the magnificent carved wood sea serpent back in its natural environment after many years: a waterfront bar. It's really a great piece of craftsmanship, and it was sad to see it neglected in a used furniture shop for years. According to the clerk at said used furniture shop, it was originally made for the exact location in which it resides now.

I didn't buy the dishes and such that I wanted. I didn't buy anything until we got to the big, new Goodwill store in Warrenton. There, I bought a bunch of colored glassware for the restaurant, and maybe one bowl for the house.

The sweater continues apace.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Small town living is the best. Last year, in Los Angeles, we couldn't get parking within a mile of a fireworks display, so we drove an hour into the hills so we could see them from a distance. In Astoria, population 10 thousand, the municipal fireworks are visible from half the town. They're not visible from our neighborhood, so we drive to the Maritime Museum for front row seats. We were able to park just a few yards away, an hour before the show, and got out in five minutes after it was over. The best.

The sweater is coming along nicely. I sure hope it fits, when it's done.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Being lazy today. I started to do something lively, walking the dogs, and immediately got stung by a wasp. I can take a hint. Back to TV and knitting.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tom and I saw "Cars 2" today. I was disappointed only because Pixar usually outdoes itself. This was one of the rare Pixar movies that isn't better than every other Pixar movie that has come before it. It's still good, though.

I've reached the patterned part of the torso of the alpaca colorwork sweater I'm making for myself. On the torso, since it's fine-gauge yarn and I'm a big girl, I can only knit about an inch per day, so I still have another week or two until the sweater is finished. In early July, it's unlikely I'll have a compelling need for a new sweater soon. I'd like to finish before my next trip to LA mostly so I can show it off. I certainly wouldn't need it in LA; the heat there was my #1 reason for moving away.

Friday, July 01, 2011

I finished the second sleeve tonight.

This afternoon, ten huge cartons arrived: the dishes for the restaurant. A small carton holding six pounds of sausages came in the same truck, from a different vendor. The sausages will be much easier to deal with.

Sarah was a little under the weather, but Tom took her to the vet, and she's feeling better already. I thought she had been looking fitter since we moved here, but it's now confirmed; our formerly obese doggie has lost five pounds. That's almost 20% of her body weight; I wish I could do as well. As far as I know, Sarah's entire secret is that she goes for four walks per day, since we moved. I do, as well, but I should scale up the walks for my size. If I walked a mile four times per day, I might also lose 20% of my own body weight.