Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A Little Gardening

It can get cold in Central California...really. I had thrown some overgrown chrysanthemums into this bucket and kind of forgotten about them a couple of weeks ago. Then it rained, and those poor discarded flowers kept blooming, peaking their faces above the water line, and then it froze, and they were still trying to survive. 
 Which is my segway for explaining why I needed to have Russ construct some little greenhouses for me if I wanted a winter garden. I love not having to water constantly and not struggling with insects and other summer gardener bains.
 My lettuce has been very happy with his efforts. Besides wanting to raise sheep and sit around knitting stuff from my sheep's wool, I would like to be a farmer. I'll have to be satisfied for now with my little raised beds. I have tons of lettuce and kale growing along with chervil.
 Last night I picked some of of my kale and lettuce to make a salad, and then I made a pesto with the chervil. It was quite good on Russ's homemade pizza crust, even though I'm not positive that it tastes that different from cilantro pesto, not that it matters. Chervil has a little bit of a licorice flavor. I guess it's a part of bouquet garni in French cooking.
 We added some red bell peppers, prosciutto, and Lamb chopper cheese from Cypress Grove to the pesto topping, and we had quite an awesome supper.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Enjoying the Last of 2014

 Russ and I have always liked spending time in Cambria a couple of times a years, but after spending a wonderful weekend with some friends, staying at the Cambria Pines Lodge in November, we've decided that we need to spend more time there. One of the main reasons is a new discovery for us: The Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Our first time running the trails there, it was warm and sunny, but last week, it was cold and windy, but still fun, in a "challenging" way.
 Russ paid for running down this steep hill too fast for a couple days afterwards with sore knees.

 Kai, who makes the two of us look like we're running backwards, came with us, and seemed to enjoy it a lot, even though he wasn't prepared for such cold weather. He was ready to go back up to Monterey and warm up.

There are interesting benches all along the trail, but this is one of my favorites.


There is one more reason that I like Cambria so much. It has a wonderful yarn shop called The Ball and Skein. I've been going there for years. It's recently moved and is even more fun than before, as in full to the brim with more yarn than ever. I made a stop there, ostensibly, to buy some circular needles I needed for a project that I'd brought along, but I walked out with two skeins of beautiful yarn. The purplish yarn is from Manos del Urguguy. The color is called Hortensia, which, for some reason, I think is awesome. The lighter colored yarn one Happiness from Kollage, I wouldn't call it luxurious, but it's close to that. It's just that it's too sturdy feeing to be luxurious. I'm planning to make a cowl for a friend with it, and it's going to feel so soft and cozy. Too bad it was almost 70 degrees today. Oh! One last neat addition. It's called Nit Wit Ridge, which is a local landmark in Cambria...a house made out of junk basically, but somehow kind of cool looking. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Instant Gratification

I've always struggled with weight a little bit. I'm fairly tall and usually somewhat athletic, so I won't say that I had a huge problem, but it nagged on me that I was overweight when I exercised so much. A little over two years ago, I went to the doctor for a check-up and had high blood pressure, which I think now was more from current stress than a big health problem, but it scared me enough to start getting serious about eating well, and I cut out sugar from my diet in a big way. I'm mentioning this because I don't usually use food as a crutch to feel good anymore, other than to feel good because I like the healthy stuff I'm eating...or drinking. One of my friends says she heard that red wine was my diet secret, ha, ha.
Anyway,  since I don't try to get instant gratification from food anymore, but I occasionally have to find a replacement for that feeling.

I'm thinking that ordering yarn is my main instant gratification now. I'm not even gong to pretend that I have a plan for these three skeins of yarn. I just wanted to have them in my yarn basket...to admire. I've ordered a lot of yarn from Loopy Ewe over the years, and not just because they have such a nice selection. A big reason is how good is feels to get one of their packages.  The yarn is wrapped up like a present and there's always a little bag of tootsie rolls. My picture doesn't do it justice. Getting a package from the Loopy Ewe is worth celebrating.

Not to be disloyal to my good friends at Loopy Ewe, I did have another "episode" this week. I ordered two skeins of yarn from Eat, Sleep, Knit. I had jury duty last Monday, and brought my ipad along and was doing a lot of web surfing during that long, boring day, and discovered them. I obviously have a thing for pink.
Two of the skins are Lornas Laces and the other one is Dream in Color Smooshy. The bluish Lorna's Laces skin is called Humboldt, which is the  beautiful, forested county in Northern California where my parents live. I've already knit a little shawlette with a skein of Humboldt, but I started thinking that maybe she'd get tired to producing that color, and then I would never have a skein to just admire. Yes, I bought that skein purely for aesthetic purposes. I'm hopeless, and I don't even care.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Comfort Zone

Kai seems to have settled in well at Monterey Bay, and we're doing O.K. too although I still very much have the urge to turn back the clock if I could. I've told Russ that I think Kai is especially equipped for rolling with changes because he has so many "comfort" elements to his life that can follow him anywhere: soccer, working out, drawing, and World of Warcraft (I feel like I should make a joke about W.O.W. here, but I can't think of one.) Russ and I have that too, in a lot of ways. We can always go for a run almost anywhere we are, and we've always loved food adventures, something our kids have definitely inherited.




Our first night in Monterey, after we'd gotten Kai moved in, he said that he needed "meat." Maybe because he was worried that we were intending to find a vegetarian restaurant or something, but I humored him and found a wonderful, little German restaurant--Stammtisch.  I've never been that interested in German food since I usually go for "lighter" food choices, but their food was delicious. The top photo is Kai's sampler plate, and the bottom one is my pork roast and red cabbage. Kai told me on the phone tonight that he's going back this week. We intend to soon, too.



We started Saturday morning with a run along the harbor and then Cannery Row and up Prescott Street, which was quite a challenge. Russ had read that Prescott St. is part of a "Military Hill" loop that soldiers from the Defense Language Institute run. When we got to the top of the street, there was a little corner store that we stopped in to get water. I was kind of intrigued by it, hidden away there in a residential area. It was really rustic inside with lots of military paraphenalia, including a signed photo from Gary Berghoff, who played Radar O'Reilly in MASH. I told Russ that I bet their deli was great. I Googled it when we got home and found out that I was right. It's called Compagnos and has been around for like twenty years and locals love it. We're going back for more than water next time.


Russ looks like he's running, but he's actually just enjoying a nice cup of coffee after our big run. You can't really see it from the photo, but there are tons of people taking SCUBA lessons in the water behind him. One of Kai's friend from high school is an instructor and works for the Monterey Aquarium which is a couple of blocks away. Kai lives in the same apartment complex as he does, which is nice for both of them.



We've spent a lot of time in the car for the past two weekends, so I've gotten a lot of knitting done. I finished one of my ribbed socks this morning on the way to the Farmer's Market in Bakersfield, and I don't even feel any Second Sock Syndrome coming on....I hope.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changes


 Ten-Year-Old Selfie

Twenty-Year-Old Selfie

My son, Kai, left for college at CSU Moneterey Bay last weekend. I've shed some tears over it, but I'm also so happy for him. He lives in MONTEREY now, after all. I was in labor with him for over twenty-four hours, and when he was finally born, he was a little the worse for wear, with a pretty big conehead. I remember looking down at him and thinking, "I'm going to love him no matter how funny looking he is." Well, I think he's pretty darn handsome now, and I know mothers are extremely biased, but he is a wonderful person and has been such a blessing to me, especially in the wake of his sister, who I also love a bunch, but who has kept up hopping, to put it nicely, for a big part of her life.

I am never that into knitting during the last part of the summer, what with 100 degree temperature, but I've been knitting quite a bit lately, probably for a little comfort. I've been knitting Pleiades with some blue Malabrigo yarn. I bought it in Monterey in July when we were looking for apartments for Kai.
 It's an easy pattern, but I didn't want to have to focus too much while we were driving in the car up to Monterey, so I started some  ribbed socks with some variegated Cascade yarn I've had forever.







Saturday, August 09, 2014

Trying Again

I received a nice note from an acquaintance last week, telling me how much she had enjoyed my blog. It was just what I needed to get a little inspiration again. I still knit a lot and enjoy it, so it seems silly not to record my accomplishments....and failures. So, here I go again.

I recently knit these little bunnies with leftover yarn for my neighbor who just had a baby and who also have a two-year-old.  I bought Julie's dress patterns a while back, so I used those. They're all so cute, and I'm so in love with the shoes that she includes in the bunny pattern itself. I bought my friend a card that had cute little pink fondant booties on a cupcake, so I found a tiny bit of leftover, bright pink yarn for the baby's bunny. Success! I even thought about making some of the cupcakes, but I regained my sanity before I tried that.
little bit of bright pink yarn to make one of the pairs of booties.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Stuff




I was sitting watching the Olympics a couple of nights ago, and I was thinking about starting a new knitting project, but then I realized that I couldn't start something because I had unfinished business. I just wasn't happy with the arms on the baby Poonam sweater I finished last week, so I took them out and reknit them. I am so glad I did because I took over the finished product to my friend's house today, and her little baby was quire pleased with his fashionable new item. He'll probably only wear it a couple of times, but I enjoyed knitting it, and his "knitting mother" seemed to really appreciated it.

In other happy news, we had a guest this weekend. Her name is Hershey, and the picture above is a picture that I took last fall and posted on Facebook, hoping to find her owner. She followed my friend and I home from our run one morning and was ADAMANT that we help her. I figured that someone in the neighborhood had lost her and was frantically looking for her since she appeared to be a purebred and was so darn cute. I took her inside to give her a little food, and then Russ went in search of her owner. We, of course, were limited on time since we had to get to work, so when we couldn't find an owner, we let her out into the "cold cruel world" again because we couldn't leave her in the house, and our dogs are inside/outside dogs. When we came home for lunch, she was in the house again because Kai had heard her crying outside her door and took pity. We really didn't want another dog, but now we really felt responsible, and, on closer inspection, we discovered that she was very thin and not well taken care of.



To make a long story short, she was adopted and is now doted on by a neighbor who had lost a beloved dog a year or two before, after we showed up on her door step and told her that she needed a new dog. Part of the deal is that we are "dog parents" when our neighbor leaves for the weekend, which is fairly often. Hershey stays with us, and, unfortunately, has taken on some of our dogs' bad habit, like sleeping on the warm laundry on the couch, that is waiting to be folded. I discovered her here with Gidget after returning with the rest of the load. Sigh!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Tiny Aran


In teaching, you start having colleagues who were also your students as soon as five or six years after they graduate, so you can imagine that since I've been teaching for over twenty-five years that I have tons of ex-student-fellow teachers. One of them, who has actually moved on up to teaching at the community college next door to our high school, had a baby in December. She's a knitter. Additionally, she's a "math teacher" knitter, which means that she probably doesn't improvise as much as I do, preferring to be mathematically accurate instead of just "guestimating." I'm a little unsure about how these sleeves are going to work out, but I'm pretty happy with this Baby Poonam. I'd better hurry and deliver it. We're back to kind of normal California winter weather. I'm not sure it even hit 50 degrees yesterday. Brrrrrr!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Let's See How It Goes

I remember feeling so disappointed when some of the bloggers who I discovered years ago stopped blogging. Most of them did that thing where they would post only sporadically, and then would officially sign off or just disappear. My blog has never been that focused where I felt it was a burden as most of the "retired" bloggers would often profess to feeling. I just haven't felt the motivation. I really have enjoyed the interaction with other knitters though, so I'm going to give it another try, and I'll see how it goes.

I have been knitting quite a bit since September, mostly small stuff....OK, only small stuff. Back in November, I knit the Green Forest headband for Paige, which was really fun to knit, with just enough variety in stitches to keep it interesting.


 Then, during Christmas vacation, I knit the Through the Woods  Neckwarmer. It was fun to knit too although I'm not sure how much use Paige will get out of it. She's complained that it's so cold riding her bike to class in Davis, which I'm sure is true. It's definitely "California cold" up there, but I think the complaints were more directed toward getting to take a car up there than for me to "fix" her chilliness.

In non-knitting news, our little beagle puppy, Rolly, who broke his leg last spring, has turned into a huge, gangling guy. He's a typical beagle: good-natured, stubborn, and always ready for fun. Gidget tolerates his antics quite well, and sometimes, even joins in.



Sunday, September 01, 2013

Fun Weekend

I posted a picture of my "Little Cotton Rabbits" bunny earlier, but I forgot to post the picture with the little headband I knit for my grandneice, along with it. It was super easy, but cute, I think. I haven't been knitting much since this accomplishment. It's just so hot, and not conducive to wanting to work with wool, which is my favorite "medium."




I did consider bringing some knitting along with me this weekend for a little trip Russ and I went on, along with 26 students and 2 other teachers, but I had to drive a van, and I usually do all of my knitting on trips when we're driving. We all spent the night at a friend's grandmother's house...well, "house" is an understatement. It's a horse ranch up above Solvang. We left after school on Friday, dropped our stuff off at the ranch and rested a bit and then went to see Cyrano de Brgerac the PCPA Outdoor Theater in Solvang. They did a great job, as they always do, and even Russ stayed awake for all three hours.   


 The next morning, my friend's grandmother took us on a little tour of the ranch. She raises champion horses, and even though she's well into her 70s, she marched us up and down hills in 90 degree temps as if it was nothing.


Did I mention that we had 26 teenagers along? I still can't quite belief that our hostess, Maidy, was so generous. She has a beautiful home and didn't even seem to cringe as we descended upon her. Her dogs were also very accommodating, as long as someone was willing to toss their toys for them endlessly.



I can't remember her macaw's name, but he was happy to have us too, and even did a little dance whenever someone played the piano or accordion in the next room. What a fun adventure!