Monday, December 31, 2018

And other days--

well, it is all sunsets and rainbows.

Yesterday was, to put it mildly, a crazy weather day.  The highlight, though, was the first sighting of a rainbow, and it was a good one! Not quite the perfect place to get the rock and the rainbow, but I'm not complaining. I think the sunset was from a few nights ago. Anyway, yesterday we also had rain (it was raining when I took the rainbow pictures), hail, a lot of wind, and sun.

We took the dogs down to the beach and hiked up the bluff to the whale watch station. So on the Oregon coast, volunteers staff 'whale watch stations' (basically good viewpoints) to help visitors see whales and spew off whale facts. Theoretically (and I say this because we have no visual evidence), grey whales travel south during the week between Christmas and New Years to their feeding grounds in Baha and then North during Spring Break week to go back to Northern Alaska.

I've always kind of rolled my eyes at this, because HOW DO THE WHALES KNOW WHEN SCHOOL BREAKS ARE but never mind.

Anyway, we are technically in the midst of the winter migration but the volunteers yesterday had only seen two whales in the hour or so that they had been watching. Since the whales are fairly far out (they're not hungry as they've just finished their summer feed and are focused on getting down south to start their winter feed) and the best way to spot them is to see their spouts. However, with so much wind yesterday, the spouts disperse immediately so it is almost impossible to see them.

Or, they're just not there.

Anyway, I kept checking from here (with binoculars) yesterday and no spouts. It is calmer today so maybe we'll see something.

And in knitting news:

I finished the cabling on one arm and just have the cuff to do. Then comes the other arm. It looks pretty cool if I do say so myself.

And the sock is coming along as well.

Today we'll watch the Ducks take on Michigan State in the RidiculousNamed Bowl (the Redbox bowl, how 2007) and then tonight we'll play the escape room game and another board game and see if we can stay up to welcome in the New Year. 

See you next year!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Lest you think it is all sunsets and rainbows--

--here is the view out the window today.

The rock is out there somewhere. It's just sheets of rain, expected all day. The amazing thing is that the house is so solid we don't hear any rain at all unless it is hammering the windows. However, we can hear the waves even with the windows shut, even though we're a good half a mile or so from the beach as the crow flies.

I have to admit, I brought out too many projects to work on (but that's ok). I have about four inches left of pattern on the first sleeve before I do the cuff:

And I am working on a mindless sock, in a colorway inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's starry night.

We went furniture shopping the other day, and stopped for lunch in Tillamook (it is where the cheese and the ice cream come from! If you have never had Tillamook ice cream, you are missing the creamiest ice cream ever!).  We saw a tiny little pottery store and popped in--the owner has her studio and her little shop there and does not only cute pottery but also prints. We bought this.

You can see more of Kirsty Lombard's work here and here.

I'm reading "The Witch Elm" by Tana French after starting and stopping a few other books and I am really, really liking it.

The year is winding down, and time to think of my word for 2019. I'm pretty sure what it will be--have you thought of yours?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Coastal mornings

We have settled into a routine in the mornings---Tim puts the window shades up, turns on the Christmas tree, pours orange juice and makes coffee. I take the dogs out, get the radio set up, and build the fire. Then we enjoy coffee and juice and our Breakfast of Champions, Christmas cookies, before starting the day.

(It is all a bit more complex than in the Eugene house because the fire takes a bit of time, Tim makes aeropress coffee, and turning on the radio involves finding my Kindle (somewhere near the bed where I read before going to sleep), connecting it to the power cord and the speakers, and then finding NPR.)

The sun rises late, later than us, and this was the view at about 7:40am:

Yesterday I did some work (finished up a book project--I know, I know, I'm always finishing up a book project but this was some loose ends that arose in mid-December) and ta da--finished the whole first clue on the MKAL.

Clue 4 comes out today or tomorrow--I think I 'over planned' on my WIPs for this trip. However, more is better than less, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Merry Day!

We had a lovely Christmas day on the coast, and I hope your day was lovely too.
It began with a sunrise that was gorgeous:

We're usually not known for our sunrises here, but this one, with the fog and the sun and the rock, was wonderful.

We had gifts (Tim did a lot of pom pom bows this holiday!).

We had tiny alpacas and rose quartzes:

We had a long walk on the beach:

We walked up the "Great Sand Dune" which is 220 feet straight up. I couldn't look down while we were walking up, but the view was gorgeous!

The waves were amazing.

 We came home and had pancakes and then hung out for most of the day. We ended with leftovers from Christmas Eve and watching the movie "The Man Who Invented Christmas" about Charles Dickens. And I knit on this sweater some more:

Just an all around happy day.

Today it is rainy and cold and we're both back to work (Tim commutes to the downstairs office, I commute to the dining room table).

Hope you are still celebrating!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Today: cooking, Elf,  Christmas cards
Tomorrow: gifts, phone calls, hike up the bluff to look for whales (they said on the radio that there could be as many as 30 whales visible PER HOUR during their annual migration south and we hope to see some).

May your days be merry and bright. Thank you for being my blog friends.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Big, Big Storm

Man, we had two thunder storms last night that were major (ok we don't get them here so any thunder and lightning is major). Pilot was up shaking and panicky. He calmed down eventually but really, one boom will send him off the rails. Poor guy.

I woke up this morning thinking we would have dozens of branches blown down but nope, all is the same. These trees and plants have survived for a long time and one little storm isn't going to hurt too much!

I wanted to share the Midsomer MKAL progress:

I'm still on Clue 1---clue 3 came out Thursday or Friday. I'm almost done with Clue 1 so yay me. I like it.

We are doing cookies and toffee today in our efforts to get Holly Jolly!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Is this a solstice tradition for me?

Yesterday was solstice, and I don't know if this is related or not, but every electronic thing I touched went wacky. I lost stuff on my computer. The Kindle decided not to show me any of my books. The cable wasn't connected and had to be replugged. It was just ODD that all these things happened on the same day. Maybe that is my lot in life--I think I mentioned to you that one day last week I had three rejections from publications on the same day?

I know things 'come in threes' but I guess for me things come in threes ALL IN ONE DAY.

But things seem better now. I didn't get a lot of knitting done yesterday because this:

We finally got the tree up! It looks great and is eight feet tall!

Very cozy. And for the first time ever since I was a kid, stockings are hung by the fireplace. (I haven't lived anywhere with a fireplace as an adult, til now---we have a gas stove in Eugene but it is small and gets way too hot for stockings).

And oh yes, we had a Solstice Sunset last night:

It was kind of awesome.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Solstice!

Finally, we move back toward the light. I hope this Solstice is a peaceful and beautiful one for you.

We drove over to the coast yesterday. Driving up the highway it poured and was a bit dicey, but once we got off the interstate it cleared up and then it was an easy rest of the trip. We got here around noon and unloaded the car (it was so full--we brought out two big boxes of Christmas decorations, a bunch of presents, and Tim's stand mixer in addition to the regular stuff we bring out. Less stuff will be going back to Eugene!). We got the dogs and the bird settled in and then grabbed some lunch at the pub. There have been some high winds lately--

these are the newspaper boxes that are sheltered at the brew pub--you can see that the tops are coated in sand if you look closely.

 And then---finally---

 The Christmas tree is in the house! In our little town, there is a little hardware store that sells trees and I checked with them on Tuesday to see if they had any left. When we got there yesterday, they had six left (yes, six!). We were happy to see that they stored them all in water buckets (which they don't do in Eugene) and the tree we picked out was quite fresh. Tim got it on the top of the car and we took it home and stood it up. It has lights on it now and I'll show you more pictures tomorrow.

It was stormy for most of the day and then there was this, for a few minutes, at around 4:30.

And a little bit of brightness for your solstice:

Dewberry turned out lovely. 

And now finally finally, here is a video I made for my friend Matt, the surfer. It is a bit long but please keep watching til the end for something kind of amazing. I suggest to Matt on the video that he watch the right hand side of the video--the Cape--to see what happens. Please keep in mind that the cape you see here is over 100 feet high. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

So Kathy mentioned...

...that she hadn't seen any Calypso pictures for a while. I apologize for that! Now that he is kind of grown up he has settled into his essential Calypso-ness that is very mellow.

Ann and I went out for Thai food today and so I had a chance to snap some pictures. First, Calypso (for Kathy).

 ^^^I think this one is my favorite.

For the first time ever, Atom came to see me and *almost* let me pet him.

Very very close.

And then Tondero was fascinated by the phone.
He's a nut.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Almost there!

There's just one round left, and a bind off, and this guy is done.

I like it a lot, and am eager to wear it!

Today is a day to get all the little ends tied up before we head out to the coast. We're taking out most of our Christmas stuff and will leave it out there, except for a few things we'll keep here for our small decorations. I need to take a few more clothes out than average and lots of crafts and some work, but not as much food as for Thanksgiving ( Christmas is more straightforward!). So I think we're pretty much all set.

I'll post from there, of course.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Pilot Update

Apparently this is the busiest week of the year at the vet's with no appointments available, so after a phone consultation with the office, describing the lump (very small and squooshy), it's location (in a low-risk place on his leg) and Pilot's engagement with the lump (none) we are going to go over to the coast and have the lump looked at as soon as we get back, barring any significant changes that we'll on the lookout for.  We have a monitoring plan, and while this is not the outcome we wanted, we have reassurance from the vet's that 'this is what I would do if it was my dog' and 'after this week we'll have no trouble seeing you immediately' we're ok with it. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

Lookie lookie!

It's the grey sweater! I know you've been wondering where it is!

The body is done, and I'm working on the sleeves. Here is the front:

 And here is the back:

It's dark this morning still so it's hard to see the cable, but it goes all across the back. And now I'm adding the rest of sleeves so the cable will go all the way down the back of the sleeve with plain stockinette on the front.

In other news:
-we're getting ready to leave for two weeks at the coast. Do you think three large WIPs, one small WIP, and 10 additional balls of yarn is too much to take? Plus counted cross stitch?

-hoping to get a vet appointment today or tomorrow--Tim found a lump on Pilot's inner leg and while most of those are non-worrisome, we worry.

-I'm reading a really good book--"Radiant Shimmering Light" by Sarah Selecky.  It's a satire on self-help and the cult of personality. Plus dog auras.

-we're supposed to get 5 inches of rain here this week. Or up to five inches.  Yee!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dewing the Dewberry with fingering yarn

Several of you all have asked about my revisions for the Dewberry cowl as I am using fingering yarn for it (String Theory Self-striping yarn).
I really like how it looks in this yarn, sort of like one of those crocheted mandalas. That is, if I had straightened it out carefully as opposed to plop it dwn on the table as a big blob,

So anyway, I am using a Size 5 needle and followed all the directions for the setup and for section 1 and 2 as written.

Section 3 begins with an increase row, and I did that row (row 1) and then added two rows.   The first row is on the wrong side and I did k2, [p4 m1] all the way across and ended with k2 (it might not have come out even, that's ok). Then I added a second row that was k2, [k4 m1] all the way across and ended with k2. Then I did the rest of the section as written--there is another increase on Round 9, and I just did the k6m1 11 times instead of 8 times and that seemed to work out fine. There's another increase in the final section that I'll just figure out when I get there.

This results in a cowl that will lay down pretty close to your neck (I think--hasn't been blocked yet) and that might be too 'chokey' for some people. You could add two additional rows at the start of section 3 to give yourself a bit more 'space'.

I hope that helps!

In other news:

-secret project is going really, really well. I think it might be done for Christmas!
-I watched the Starz version of "Howards End" while Tim was gone. The movie version (with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham-Carter) is one of my favorite movies of all time and the book is also a really good book (although I refer to it in my head as "Howards' Bleedin' End" in my Julie- Walters-in-Educating-Rita-voice). This version was really good, and it had Matthew MacFayden whom I love, and Tracey Ullman as Aunt Juley, and it was just really good).

Friday, December 14, 2018

Crafting Catch Up

I've spent a lot of time crafting this week, while Tim's been gone. Crafting and working and walking dogs--very little else, which is fine, although I kind of want to curl up and read but few of my knitting projects are conducive to knitting and reading.

I did more on the MKAL:

I think I am a little more than halfway through Clue 1. Clue 2 came out today. My first thought was "oh I'm going to be at the coast when Clue 3 and 4 come out and won't have a printer" and the second thought was "I can read the pattern on my Kindle" and the third thought was "who are you kidding, I won't be done with Clue 2 til after New Year's".

The grey sweater is coming along--I'm working on the ribbing at the bottom and then I go back to the shoulders and the cable. So that's going pretty well.

Lots of projects will go out to the Coast for Christmas, because a girl must have choices.

Spoiler ahead: if you are Tim, please stop reading.

Yesterday I made more progress on Tim's present---it probably won't be done for Christmas but most of what is left is 'background' and not important stuff. Here is  a little teaser:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meet my grandma

During an appointment earlier this week, I started talking about my grandmother.  When I was growing up, I lived most of the time with my grandparents. My grandfather was awful, and my grandmother was a somewhat quiet and weak woman who was needed silence and quiet. Not your holly jolly pair, those two. But that's not what I want to share today. I want to share this:

I grew up in St. Louis, and this is a monument in Forest Park. It is on one side of a lagoon that you can paddle boat on in the summer.  It is a tribute to "Vater Jahn” was known as the “father” of gymnastics  in the 19th century. When she was growing up, my grandmother often went to what was known as the 'Turner Club" in St. Louis, where she and her brother and sister did gymnastics. She eventually became a gym teacher. And she posted for the statue on the right.
At some time in the 1950s, before I was born, she was subjected to electro shock therapy and then became the quiet and meek woman that I knew. I'm not sure exactly what happened, and I know that type of treatment was somewhat standard at that time.

I'm replacing the somewhat sad memories of my grandmother with better ones, and this is the one I am holding tight on to. She was an active, vibrant young woman who is immortalized in my home town. That's really something.

Here is to you, Lucille Belzer Ondr, 1895-1977.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

So much color

I'm loving the Dewberry cowl, and can see why people make lots of them. I'm knitting this in fingering yarn so I had to add some stitches on to it so it will go over my head but that isn't a big deal.

I think it will be like having a carnival around my neck. It is fun!

Still plugging away on Tim's gift. The 'major' part is done and now there are two 'minor' parts left to do, and I figure that if I only get one of the 'minor' parts done I will still have a decent gift.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Morning Walk

The dogs and I enjoy our morning walk--it is often so quiet and calm out, and I have time to think and plan. I never listen to the radio and rarely talk on the phone (plus, two dogs) and it is just special. This morning it was dark when we started by lightened up gradually (we started a bit after 7). Today our walk was to the 'new neighborhood' which is up the hill from my neighborhood--it takes about five or ten minutes to walk there. 

Well, unlike my neighborhood (which I guess would be the 'old neighborhood), the 'new neighborhood' people keep their outside lights on all night. So enjoy the holiday lights in the new neighborhood!

First is Strider and Luna's house (dogs, of course. I know people by their dogs).

Then we walked by Ida's house (Ida is a new pup and lives in a house that looks like a gingerbread house).

Then a bunch of bright houses in a row_

I think those are reindeer? And one more.

It is so lovely to walk through a neighborhood of lights.