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!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Sunday Afternoon" of Summer

 This will possibly be my most random post every. I haven't posted much this summer despite lots for fun adventures, including some knitting successes, as well. We usually end our summer with a visit to my parents in Humboldt County, which is from nine and a half to eleven hours away from us, depending on which roads we decide to take and how terrible the traffic is. This year was the first time in over twenty years that we went without any kids, which was a little sad; however we did take our dogs which was a little burdensome, but still fun. My dad built me a spinning wheel this year, and has sent me several pictures of his creation throughout his "building journey." My only responsibility before taking possession of it was to apply some Danish oil to the finished project.

My dad has never really shown that much interest in my knitting, but this spinning wheel has changed that somewhat. Last summer a friend of his, who raises sheep, gave him a huge bundle of romney fleece when he found out he was making me a spinning wheel. I have had it in my garage most of the year, waiting for me to learn to spin. I have a long way to go, but thank to my dad again, I did have an enjoyable lesson from a neighbor of my parent', Eilene, who is an avid spinner.
It would appear that Eilene is also an avid knitter. After our lesson, Eilene showed me some of her sweaters. I practically gushed. They were incredible. She and her husband have traveled the world, and she had knitted sweaters with yarn from wonderful places they had visited, including Florence. My favorite sweater, though, was a sweater she had knit from Philosopher's Wool. I'd kind of forgotten about them, since knitting anything from them is a major investment. Her sweater is the purple-hued one on the upper right. Now, I'm thinking that I need to make the investment in one. What a fun afternoon I spend with her.

 Our doggies took quite a bit of our time since my parents' yard isn't fenced well enough for them to roam outside. On the other hand, they were so cute, we didn't mind the effort. Rollie, our "baby," loved it there, and he loved having his "aunty" Gidget along to bother and....sleep on when necessary.

 Having dogs in tow does limit one's activities, but we didn't let it slow us down too much. We spend a lot of time just hiking around Humboldt County, but we also walked in downtown Eureka with the beagles and enjoyed the somewhat new boardwalk.
 I knit a bunny while we were there too. I think she may be my favorite bunny ever. I bought Julie's bunny pattern over two months ago, after waiting years for her to publish it. I have loved these bunnies forever, and finally Julie put together the most perfect pattern for creating one of our own. I sent this little girl bunny to my nephew and his wife, who had a little girl this winter, named Ollie. They're both very artistic, and I'm thinking will appreciate a little handmade gift for their darling little girl.

On our way home from my parents' house, we stopped in Davis to pick up Paige, who doesn't have to start back at school until the end of September, so she thought she'd spend a few weeks with us. We enjoyed some sushi out on the patio of our motel.  It might have been a little more enjoyable had we not had barking beagles sitting with us, but it was fun nevertheless. Paige knows how to order awesome sushi. It's funny how poor college students know all about expensive food!

Friday, July 19, 2013



I have such nice "blogdom" friends. I initially posted pictures of these Brittany Walnut knitting needles without any text attached. To tell the truth, I accidentally posted them. I had taken the pictures because I was selling them on Ebay. I still got three nice comments about them.  Anyway, I ended up selling this pair of needles for $45. I have two other pairs that I don't plan to sell, even though I also have no intention of ever using them. They're too special. I sure wish I had bought a complete set back when they were $8 a pair, but I didn't know that they would quit making them so quickly.