Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Whales Watched: None

We had a good day for looking for whales yesterday but--no whales. I think they can go pretty far out--probably beyond the horizon that we can see--but maybe we'll see some today. We have seen boats out as today is the first day of the commercial crab season, so at least there is something to watch (just kidding, I could watch the sea all day).

Today is New Year's Eve and I predict there will crafting, baking, cooking, and an attempt to watch "The Irishman" and stay up til midnight. Pilot will spend the holiday in the car as he doesn't like fireworks and the car is his safe place. Tomorrow we'll take down the decorations and watch the Rose Bowl. It has been a great holiday.

A new hood
I'm doing another "Friend of the Forest" hood using some of the 'emergency' yarn bought when I first realized I had forgotten the yarn.

New toys for the Silhouette

I bought myself a set of foil quills--heated pens that transfer foil onto cardstock (and other materials, as I've found). 

Basically, you place some foil over the cardstock, put a design in the program, and heat up the pens. The heated pens transfer the design onto the cardstock. I need to work on coordinating the fronts and backs though.

I love the wavy card.

I also played around with pop up cards--this one is a birthday cake for my mom's birthday.

I made a yummy crab bisque for dinner last night--one crab at the grocery store that I cleaned myself and made the fish stock from the shells.


I'm reading The Daughter which is a thriller--I like it even though it uses that kind of annoying technique of moving between time periods--the bad thing happens in the first period and then a year later people are living their lives and dealing with the bad thing but you don't know exactly what the bad thing is. It is annoying me as much as it usually does.

I'm also reading Elin Hildebrand's Summer of 69 because it was on a sale from Kindle and I do tend to like her books.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Be safe and have fun!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Whale Watching Week

The week between Christmas and New Year's is 'whale watching week' on the coast, which I think is a bit of a scam to get people to come spend money out here. There are volunteers with binoculars stationed at various places for a few hours every day, and estimates of 30 per hour passing by. Well, I spent a bit of time with binoculars checking out the migration yesterday, and saw NONE. And today we can't even see the ocean. But whatever, we need a good name for the time between Christmas and New Year's so Whale Watching Week is as good a any.

Friday we went to Lincoln City (the 'bigger town' about half an hour south--it has a population of about 9000 (compared to 1000 for Pacific City) but it is a much bigger tourist destination (it has both a casino and an outlet mall so there's that).  We went to lunch at one of my favorite places, Kylos, where you basically sit out over the water and watch the waves, which were kind of crazy on Friday. We also went to Joann's and I bought a bunch of stuff--paper (big sale), foiling supplies, and glass etching supplies.

Glass etching
The idea is that I can cut out a stencil using the cutting machine, and then etch that on glass. You etch glass by putting on the stencil, smearing on a cream, and then washing off the cream after a minute. It works, unless you are drying the glass you just etched and the glass lid falls off and breaks, rendering the project sort of useless. But kind of cute still.

I etched the little dog paw on there. 

I finished Tim's socks--

And I did some more work on the British Baking Shawl. When we last left the shawl, I didn't realize that we would bind off a side and then start another separate piece that (I assume) will be connected somehow.

So the separate piece now looks like this:

We'll see how this goes!

This was Tim's homemade gift this year. It is iris folding.


Over break I've read:

  • 'The Road to Farringale which started as a web series and now is a series on Kindle--it is kind of a fun and light Harry Potter-like book and I'll read the whole series, eventually. Not the level of character development but it is a nice new magic world for those of us who like those things.
  • The Royal Secret is a mystery about--not one but TWO royal secrets, which are being tracked down by a feisty young journalist. People in high places don't, of course, want these secrets exposed. It was ok but it kind of went on and on.
  • Maine-I may have read this when it first came out, but I remembered little of it. Because who doesn't want to read about dysfunctional Catholic families during the holidays.
And I will leave you with this.


Friday, December 27, 2019

It was Merry and Bright

Is it already two days past Christmas? Yes I guess it is. Christmas was lovely with sleeping late, opening presents, walking dogs, going to the beach just the two of us, eating leftovers, playing dominoes (I suck) and watching the fire. Yesterday we went crabbing (no luck) and hung out in the afternoon.

A few photos:


A friend of Kathy's makes gnomes. Tim needed a gnome.

 The gnome will now live on top of the Tulikivi, which seems appropriate.

 Here is another wall of embroidery.

 One of Tim's gifts to me was a piece of glass he had blown at a glass blowing studio about half an hour south of here. Very cool!

And this was my 'big' present, a lovely piece by one of our favorite artists. It is about eight inches high (it looks giant in this picture).  I absolutely love it. I've been asked for info about the artist, and Kristy's web page is here!


Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day which doesn't guarantee a gorgeous sunset but it does help.

Here's the sunset reflected in a neighbor's window.

I am enjoying reading your holiday recaps, and it seems like Merry and Bright was prevalent!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Merry Christmas eve to you and your family! I hope wherever you are, you are warm and safe and happy and feeling loved. I know Christmas is hard for many (me included) and I am focusing on enjoying the simple things--a pretty fire, beautiful music on the stereo, pears poaching, sleeping dogs, and living in a beautiful part of the world.

Beach Walk
We got up fairly early this morning, and Tim said at some point "I want to take you somewhere around 10am." We spoke with our niece Jean (who has a birthday today) and then drove over to the bakery and coffee place on the beach (our little town has a brewpub, a bakery, a coffee place, a taco shack, and a five star restaurant all gathered together around the rock). We had holiday coffees (peppermint mocha for me, gingerbread latte for Tim) and some pastry, and then headed out on a walk.

The beach at the Cape was unwalkable,  as the tides are high and there has been significant erosion. Plus it was right around high tide, so we walked along the dunes and through one of the little neighborhoods before coming home.

Near this little bridge was this:

Not in anyone's yard, just on a little pine tree in the beach grass. Such a delightful surprise.

Sunset last night

 We finally figured out how to hang our silver bells (and I figured out how to get the tarnish off these silver plated beauties---fireplace ash and lemon juice).

We also hung lights in the popout windows.

May your days be merry and bright.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Eve eve

Merry Christmas eve eve! Tim is working part of the day today and I'm going to try to not work at all. This is a new thing with me. For many academics, the holiday break is a time to catch up on all the work we were too busy to do when we were teaching---reviewing manuscripts, writing manuscripts, doing editorial work for journals, editing books---and I am one of these people. Luckily, now that retirement is in the horizon, I'm scaling back my research, and had plans to take three whole weeks off (save for answering emails, doing some work for the journal I edit, little stuff).

Then---got a bunch of chapters for a book that I've been working on with my colleague Larry on Christmas eve, with instructions saying they've been copy-edited but need a lot of revision. The due date is the end of January, but Old Kim would have jumped on these right away. New Kim said "remember when I told you in November I'm taking the holidays off? I'm taking the holidays off."

It is a bit irksome since the editor has had these chapters for probably nine months and was 'too busy' with other stuff to get to them. So I'm holding firm, and grumbling about it with my colleague.

But other than that---

We had a gingerbread house to make. This is actually a toll house cookie house (it was a kit) and it is SO SUPERIOR to the other kits we've used, mostly because the pieces sort of lock together like a puzzle as opposed to relying only on the icing. Plus it smells like chocolate chip cookies--delicious!!

We have a lovely morning.

I'm back to working on the Great British Baking Shawl and even though I had carefully numbered the balls of yarn that has all gone messy and I'm just winging it from now one.

Happy Eve Eve!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

New herd

Ann sent these ornaments for the tree--you can see Atom on the left, Calypso in the center, and then Tink on the right. They are so cute! I should spread them out but they need to be with their friends.

We survived the storm--the wind warning got extended til 8pm last night but it calmed down quite quickly after that. The dogs were pretty stressed by the noise--and Jessie cat spent most of the day in her cozy cave. There's a huge widowmaker branch hanging from one of our huge trees across the street, but luckily no one spends any time standing under there so it should be ok.

Yesterday I re-made the toffee (didn't get it amber enough) and then made Nanaimo bars. The chocolate seized up twice, but they're still good.

Friday, December 20, 2019

So much wind

Blogger deleted the post I wrote, but here's a recap:

  • We've had more than 18 hours of 25+ mph wind and gusts of almost 60. Six more hours til it starts to back off. All is well, except for the hunks of fence that blew down.
  • Blogger chooses not to post the video I took of said wind.
  • To get my mind off wind, I baked yesterday: toffee (well not baked), gingerbread cookies, and short bread. Today: Nanaimo bars.
  • One sock is done.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Waiting for an Atmospheric River

The weather forecasters are saying an atmospheric river---a rainstorm producing lots of rain--is expected starting tomorrow. I wonder if atmospheric river is the new term for pineapple express--which were rainstorms that come from Hawaii? I can't keep track.  Anyway--we are supposed to get rain.

But this morning was beautiful--

Although not nearly as beautiful as last night--

No filter, really!

Speckle tonic

One of the projects I didn't forget was Speckle Tonic, so I worked on that a bit last night (and in the 'good news' department--I found a cake of sock yarn hidden in the craft room).

There are so many stitches on the needle it is hard to see anything with this, but it is coming along.  I'm usually not a lace person but 1. this lace is kind of straightforward and 2. I've told myself I don't care how the lace looks, so I forgive myself all errors.


I finished 'The Silent Patient' which was ok---there is a HUGE twist in it that I should have seen coming a mile away, but didn't. I've been searching around for a book to enchant me, and haven't found it yet.  I'm reading a book now about the 1920s (can't think of the name, can't reach the Kindle) and so far it is OK, not enchanting.

Alpaca news
We still don't have the results of the necropsy, but our alpaca vet told Ann that there have been some cases of a soil born bacteria killing some younger alpacas in Oregon. Alpaca get immunizations for some bacteria but not all--and not the ones that are 'rarer' but if the results come back that a rare bacteria is in the soil, then I guess they can all be immunized against it? Hopefully more information will be available soon. I'm thinking good thoughts about all the alpacas today.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Updates from the Coast

Good morning from Pacific City! We drove over Saturday and guess what---after all the prep to bring that big bag of yarn here---I left the bag of yarn at home. DOH! Luckily I had packed 3 WIPs and 2 embroidery projects, and guess what? There are people who will deliver yarn to you in the mail if needed. So I had a few hours of being very annoyed with myself and then I just put it behind me. There is Christmas to prepare!


We checked out the trees on our property, and decided they needed a few more years to grow. The hardware store provided this tree, almost nine feet tall.

It is trimmed and beautiful--it has almost all of our ornaments on it and could take a whole bunch more. I'll post some photos of some of my favorites on the days leading up to Christmas. 

I have one set of Christmas hoops up in our great room (sorry for the dark photo--I took these before the sun came up).

 Here's the whole "Kim's crafts" wall--the embroidery hoops and the 12 days of Christmas mittens.

And here's the fireplace where the stockings were hung with care.

Crazy ocean
The ocean is quite stormy---the tides have been high and churning, with the result that the boat ramp to the beach washed out. I've written before about the dory fleet--there's no pier in Pacific City so the fishermen tow their boats down to the beach and basically back them into the ocean, and then when they land they just drive up on the beach and let the sand stop them. Well, the crazy ocean has washed out the ramp that they drive down---I'm not sure what will happen now, although it looks like it can be rebuilt (we walked the dogs there yesterday). We think our little cape is so benign, but yesterday we saw the true power of the ocean.

And a bit of sad news
I'm sorry to share that Calypso's papa, Kokopelli, died suddenly on Friday. Here is a photo that Ann took of papa and son the day before he died.

Kokopelli on the left, Calypso on the right.

It is unclear what caused his death--he was fine in the morning, he was laying down in the pasture at 10am. and by noon he was gone. There is a necropsy being done to try to give some indication, but the feeling is that he went down so fast that it isn't something that could hurt the entire herd.

He was a good fellow---obviously he was Calypso's papa, but also the papa of Georgia, one of the farm favorites. And Georgia's son Chaco was born this year, so his grandson is at the farm too. Tink is now pregnant with Kokopelli's cria, and I'll name the cria either Koko or Pele in his honor.

Ah life.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Friday Photos

 Well, there was plenty of yarn for the hat--and it's actually a little too big. Hmm. Have run it through the washer and the dryer and it still is a bit too big. It is cute, though, and great colors, so I may try to take it in a bit.

 It poured and poured yesterday and the the moon came out.

I'm working on these Tim socks when I need something mindless to do.

Waiting to hear how late Tim's plane is going to be--he's coming from San Francisco were things are always delayed.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Yarn Chicken

I think I'll be OK? I've had to tweak the pattern a bit to start the decreases earlier. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Endings and Beginnings

Grades are in, lists are made, tenderloins are frozen, patterns are printed, projects are organized. Now I have a few days of 'me' time, if 'me' time means doing laundry, cleaning the house, and arranging to leave here for three weeks. I'm also doing a radio interview about 'woke washing' today with a Sirius radio station based at BYU (that should be interesting).

But yay! I have a bunch of books downloaded on the Kindle and am so, so looking forward to a break!

Casting on

I meant to do some work on the Great British Baking Shawl but as it was cold and rainy yesterday, I cast on for a hat for me.

The yarn is from Knit Picks, it is a DK weight (maybe heavier?) kettle dyed in greens, which generally aren't 'my' colors but I kind of like this one. And my winter coat that is NOT the pink one is black and my gloves are black and so this will be a nice pop of color. The pattern is Lake Reed and it is free on Rav.

Tiny needle
I've taken a stab (hahahahah) at a new pattern--this one is bigger--it is too big for a 6" hoop but will work in an 8". 

I like this one a lot. I bet you can't tell how much I've done, and that's fine. Maybe in my later life I'll just take pretty fabric and put it in a hoop and hang it.

Speaking of hoops--I hated the Q hoop or whatever the square one is called. (Googled: Q Snap). What I do love are these fake wood rubber ones and they come in lots of different sizes and really grip the fabric. I also use these to hang the finished work.

And another one
Molly Makes is having several days of free patterns that they're bringing back from previous years (maybe just this year) and I printed out this one--it is also going to fit in an 8" and I'll stitch it on blue fabric.

And reading
I'm reading "The Silent Patient" which is---OK? I'm not quite into it yet and I'm about a fourth through. There keep being little hints of mystery that keep me reading. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Again with the questions!

Kathy is in my mind today for two reasons: first, she posted a new list of intriguing questions to ponder today and second, Oregon will be playing Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. She has never mentioned any affinity for the Badgers, but she lives in Wisconsin and every Rose Bowl needs a good rivalry. The only other person I know who is a big Badger fan was a friend from my undergrad dorm named Antonina Prestigiacomo.* And we no longer are in touch to have any type of meaningful rivalry.

Here are Kathy's questions:

1. Is there any where you would not be comfortable going on vacation? Kathy had all sorts of 'nature based' reasons, mine are languaged-based. I would be uncomfortable in an Asian country given the huge differences in languages.
I would need a full time interpreter to go anywhere in Asia!

2. Have you tried to take a photo of a pet this holiday? Not yet, as we have not done any decorating yet!

3. Have you ever sold something that no one really wanted to buy? OH yes, yes, yes. I was doing a destash and found some totes and purses that were in fine shape, but I didn't want them anymore. I listed seven of them on EBay for very little money, and only three sold.

4. Do you see more signs when you need to? Whenever one of our animals passes I see butterflies, but I'm not sure I believe in the sign stuff, although I'd like to.

5. Have you ordered food for the holidays? I didn't need to order, but I went to the butcher to pick up our Christmas Eve beef tenderloin yesterday. It is now in the freezer and I have a list in the kitchen of things not to forget to take to the coast and "tenderloin' tops the list. I also tied yarn around it so I could always ask myself 'why is there yarn in the freezer?'

Thanks for the questions, Kathy!

*And thinking about Antonina triggered this memory from my college days: Antonina's  roomie was Megan Mullally. During her first year, Megan dated a guy named Brad Hall. Brad eventually went on to marry Julie Dreyfus, or as you might know her, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also went to my University.

Monday, December 09, 2019

There is now one Christmassy thing in our house

And it is the Christmas shawl. Here it is in two different lights. The top one looks the most like the colors it really is. The second one is the photo I took when I soaked it and then hung it to dry in the bathroom. It needs a good steam and the ends woven in but I really like it.

Tim left yesterday for a conference in San Francisco. As soon as he gets back, we'll head out to the coast. Last year we had a little tree here and the big tree in Pacific City, but with the short time between TG and leaving for the coast, and Tim out of town, it seemed easier to just wait and do all of Christmas at the coast.

We walked around our neighborhood this morning (we meaning me and the dogs) and it isn't very Christmassy around here--very few houses have lights on. Maybe it is the 'late TG' excuse like I'm using for our house here? I'm not sure.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

All wound up

One of my goals for the next week is to get the craft room a bit more cleaned up. I started this morning, with the goal of trying to figure out what yarn I want to take out to the coast to knit with during the holidays and what I want to make with it. I came up with some good ideas.

 I had made a cowl with this Knit Picks yarn that has a thread of silver sparkle in it (hard to see) and I think I probably have enough for a pair of mittens or gloves. The Broad Street Mittens take 300-350 yards which I think I have.

The pink isn't a perfect match for my lovely pink duffle coat (it is Isaac Mizrahi for Target that was part of Target's whatever years of designers at Target and I love it, even though it is  pretty impractical for rainy Pacific Northwest Weather.

Here is the pink held up to the coat:

I think if I focus on the black and use just a little bit of the pink I should be OK.

I also found two skeins which have to be socks for me (also sparkly):

I found a bunch of Blue Sky fibers woodstock worsted--I think at one time I had the goal of making a fair isle scarf, but now I'm thinking I might do one or more fair isle hoods using the Friend of the Forest hood pattern. All these colors have different levels of 'going together'--and the red is really a fox colored yarn.

AND I found some yarn for Almina! I had looked at the yarn I thought would work and it turned out I only had 600 yards total and 200 were already part of a WIP (which I really like, I'm not sure why I gave it up, although I would guess it is because the pattern requires a bit more concentration than I was ready to give to it). Anyway, I found this from an indy dyer in Portland--I think it is sport weight and the pattern calls or Worsted but oh well I think I can make it work.

It's the blue in the front, a color called Chihuly.

Behind that on the left is a green worsted from Knit Picks which is going to be a hat for me. The light blue is Socks that Rock in a really pretty light blue which could be socks--I just like the color and thought I'd wind it up. It would be good for something cables, which I like for socks.

So that's what--six or seven projects? Plus the Great British Baking Shawl. And the socks I'm working on for Tim. And Speckle Tonic.

Now I'm off to figure out what that other pattern is--it is so pretty.