Tuesday, April 30, 2019

OK so maybe I'm a little more than disappointed

I'm kind of sad that Tink 'slipped', as the alpaca people say. A year is such a long time to wait for another cria---assuming she's OK. I think I mentioned the vet will check her out on Thursday (and even sadder, he has to put down Marigold the Llama because she has such bad arthritis in her neck that she can no longer hold it up).

Yesterday was a busy day--class, and meetings, and the car needed service so that involved dropping it off at the mechanic's near school and walking back and forth to pick it up. There are all kinds of politics happening right now and that makes it tiring, to say the least.

Fabulosity is nearing the finishing line!

All that is left (and this is a big all) is 22 rows of the border, which seems to be a fairly straightforward border. 22 rows is a lot given the number of stitches on this, which has to be close to 450 now (yikes).

I finished Isaac Mizrahi's memoir "I", it was OK.
I finished a Kindle freebie called "The Secrets You Keep" by Kate White, and even though I finished it on Saturday I'm searching my brain to figure out what it was about. OH--a woman spends the summer in Saratoga with her new husband and THINGS ARE NOT AS THEY SEEM and there are murders and secrets. It was OK.
I read "Truth and Beauty" by Ann Patchett which was a story of her long friendship with the poet/writer Lucy Grealy. It was---odd. I love Ann Patchett (well, maybe I just love "State of Wonder") but this was--uncomfortable.

Shake down cruises on the appliances
I've done several loads of laundry in the new washer and it is fine. It works. It doesn't turn on when it isn't supposed to. So that's good. But the new dishwasher is terrific. We did the first load last night and while it took a long, long time (our dish drawers did a load, a small load but a load, in an hour and a half. This took--maybe two and a half? We used the special drying feature, because for whatever reason having dry dishes is important to us. Anyway, the dishes are so clean and it makes me think our old dish drawer was really several years past its prime.

Have a happy last day of April!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Disappointing but not tragic

Today at shearing, it became evident that Tink isn't pregnant.

The shearer could not feel a cria while he was shearing (and he could feel the crias on the other two girls who are due later) and once she had a year's worth of fleece off her, her body shape was different than the other two girls (one is her daughter).

Our vet is scheduled to be at the farm on Thursday so she may have an ultrasound to see what is happening. This isn't that unusual---one of Ann's girls, Catalina, often presents as pregnant and it ends up she got a little chunky from the extra pellets. There are a couple of reasons that this happened, and it is likely we can breed her again but we'll see what Dr. Pat says.

Of course the good news is that Tink is just fine and that's really the important thing. Some of you who have read my blog for a while know that I lost both a cria and her mother a few years ago and that was tragic--today is just a disappointment.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday Stuff

So much stuff!

Let's start with the knitting

I'm really enjoying Botanique, and finished the 'wee butterfly' section and have moved on to the 'honeycomb' section (I love how they all have names!).

 You can see the wee butterflies here ^^^^^.
 This is one of the first panels, little flowers.
Here's the whole shebang so far^^^.

This is really much, much greener than it is photographing. Next time I'll take it outside.

No cria!
But very fuzzy alpacas, ready for shearing.

 Tripoli aka Fluffernutter.
Calypso, who is now Tripoli's buddy.

Shiny things
We bought two new appliances because two things were failing. I think I told you about the ghost in the washing machine--it would just turn on whenever it wanted to, and sometimes didn't fill with water when turned on. And sometimes it worked just fine. We had the repair guy out a while ago and he was flummoxed. The dishwasher was also on its last legs--we have dish drawers here and on the coast which are great for two people, but we hesitated to replace the one here because they are just a bit pricey.

Well, we finally decided that we should just do it, and called our Appliance Guy (one of the benefits of building a house--you find an Appliance Guy). Brian the Appliance Guy works for a small Oregon business and they are great with customer service, and he found us two good deals on both appliances ($200 off the dishwasher AND it has a food chopper in it, sort of a mini-disposal, and $300 off the washing machine) and they got installed yesterday.

Let's hope nothing else breaks before we move to the coast (the oldest appliance now is the clothes dryer, which is almost 21 years old).

Nature is good

 Bleeding hearts are good.

 Wisteria are sparse but good.
Sitting on the patio and looking up through the trees is good.

Life is good.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Poem AND Some Stitching

A Poem

Gray Whale Migration, Cannon Beach--John Tiong Chunghoo

April Cannon Beach 
the sea lions too taken up
by the sights

April Cannon Beach
we join the sea lions
in their songs of praise

Oregan Coast March
a fountain of 

Some Stitching

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

KAL and cria update

Spoiler alert: not really anything to see here.

Kimono Lace

I may not love this project.

The cast on of 313 or so stitches was done with a picot cast on (I read further in the pattern that any cast on worked, so I could have done long tail, but I was already 2/3 into it by then). Basically, it takes seven stitches to add two stitches to a picot cast on (you use cable cast on to cast on four, and then bind off two, which involves seven stitches), so that took a long time.

I started on the Kimono lace and can do one row in half an hour.


Tink is still pregnant

But my friend Deb gave me these.

They crack me up.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A thousand directions

There is a lot going on right now. Tim is very focused on finishing his dissertation this term, and he's getting really close. He had to take a little break yesterday for some out patient surgery and that was a success and he's doing fine.  He's also a very good patient and I'm sometimes not a very patient caregiver but it is all working out fine. I need to be a 'responsible adult' until noon today, so I cancelled my morning class and will go in for the afternoon one. 

Cria watch
No cria yet, but signs are there that Tink is getting ready.

One more section is complete (section 4, I think) and the next section (called "Wee Butterflies" has started.

Les Miserables
Are you watching this, on PBS?
I never read the book but have seen the musical several times and listened to the soundtrack over and over again. GUESS WHAT APPARENTLY THERE IS MORE IN THE BOOK THAN WAS IN THE MUSICAL!! 

The first episode (which we watched last night) barely got through the first ten or fifteen minutes of the musical. And I kept thinking people were going to break into song. In fact, I inserted the appropriate song from the musical at the appropriate times in episode one (really, just "Look Down" and "I Dreamed a Dream"). 

Spring photos
Just because.
 Apple tree in the park. We lost a lot of branches during the snowstorm and I'm happy to see this apple tree survived.

Bluebells and weeds.
Irises, dying tulips, and weeds.

I really need to do some serious weeding.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Pavlova Adventure

When we were in New Zealand several years ago, we were introduced to pavlovas, a dessert which is basically a big meringue, fruit, whipped cream and sometimes creme anglaise or some other type of filling. I've been 'threatening' to make one for a while, and I finally decided Easter would be a good time.

Here's the adventure.

1. I whipped up the egg whites and formed the meringue into a shape that looked like a giant egg. Clever yes?

2. Then that went in a 300 degree oven for an hour, then the oven was turned off and it sat in the oven for two hours more. I swear to you, I only peeked at it once. However, after an hour it was already brown and then when it came out--

It just sort of fell apart for the rest of the day as I was making it. But that did not stop me!

3. I made creme anglaise which was (and still is) delicious. Egg yolks, heavy creme, whole milk, sugar and vanilla:
After you cook it, it sits in an ice bath to cool down. Then it gets popped into the fridge for a few hours. The ice bath was magical.

4. Assembly time! First the creme anglaise

5. Then the fruit--we used blueberries, strawberries and kiwi-

6. Then fresh whipped cream

And yes it looked a mess but it was absolutely delicious!

And there is m pavlova adventure.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A bit more Fabulosity and other Fs for you

Happy Easter Monday! I hope you had a great Easter weekend. Ours was very mellow.


It will never end.

I'm working on the short row section (you can see it 'growing' on the right hand side of the top picture) and it is never ending. After this, there are three more section.

I joined a KAL for the Kimono Moon Shawl because the shawl is pretty and PRIZES. But to win prizes, you have to post your progress each week. Here is going to be my progress for this week (the first week of the KAL).

I picked out colors. Winner winner chicken dinner!
We spent some time yesterday ordering some furniture for the coast house. We're getting a leather sofa and chairs from Ekornes, a company that makes the 'Stressless' line. It is very sleek and comfortable.  

We tried to watch "Vice". It didn't take.

I'm still reading Isaac Mizrahi's memoir I.M. and it is a bit slow going.

Hope April showers are moving past you and you're ready for May flowers!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Botanique Details

Happy Easter Saturday! It is rainy and a bit dreary here but that's OK. We are having a quiet weekend in Eugene. Tomorrow Tim will smoke some ribs and I will make my first Pavlova! That should be an adventure.

Here are a few details on Botanique:

It takes four colors. I'm using a dark green with blue flecks, a lighter green, a speckled, and a long color change yarn with grey, green and blue. The insides of the grey yarn are very close to the speckles.

There are 15 sections (yee), each with a different spring name.

Look closely. There's a blooming flower here.

And there's something here in the grey--maybe a stream? Maybe rain?

Here are the colors close up:

I think it will all come together, even if this grey section is a bit thick right now. It will all kind of calm down, I think.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Oh you pretty things

I have so much to share! Where to begin?

Pregnant Girls

Tink is in a pink bandana, in the hopes she gives us a girl (honestly, as long as cria is healthy I'm good--but--Ann has had three boy births in the past several years and she is ready for a girl!). Tink seems to be good.

Georgia in Blue! Georgia is Tink's daughter.

Marmalade in Purple! Marmalade is Kokopelli's sister and as a result is Calypso's Auntie.

I've been thinking of names--last night at the Symphony I came up with Freia for a girl (also thinking about Luna, or Luna Bell) and Loki or Blitzen for a boy.

Gift from the farm

Ann spun this and then gave this to me, and it looks exactly like the plum tree in her front yard!!

Oh the boys
Tripoli, born last summer, was moved into a group with the 'gentle' boys. The boys had all been together until a recent event where one or two ganged up on Calypso. Ann had been planning on separating them anyway when she weaned Tripoli. Tripoli is a cutie fluffernutter:

And he is friends with Calypso.

Who needs a haircut (next weekend!)


It was one of their 'conceptual' programs. The concept was "The Color of Light" and featured music by a composer named Scriabin, who believed every musical note depicts a specific color. There was a 'color orb' that was a giant ball of color that changed during the piece. But colors didn't change with every note--apparently in the first piece (Poem of Fire) he had written out what color each section represented. Here's a picture of the color orb in the rafters (it got lowered down for the performance):

It was big. Probably give feet in diameter?

Tim really liked it. He may have a bit of synesthesia--his niece Jean has a little bit but I don't know if it runs in the family. I found it aggressive and kind of 'borg' like.

What a whale!

Getting there!

I went down a rabbit hole about embroidery on tulle the other day. I will add this to my 'summer experiment' list!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Botanique has begun!

I started the Botanique shawl. It has 14 panels using 4 different colors. It reminds me of Fabulosity and as they are both Casapinka patterns that shouldn't be a surprised. I know I wasn't going to do four color things but I gave in.

Only two colors here--a medium green and a speckled. The medium green has some green and blue mixed in although reads as olive here. The grey/green/blue is only serving as a weight but it will be used in this later. I also have a lighter green.

The pattern is a little wonky, with at least one chart where the symbols don't match the instructions, but that chart is a whiles away and so maybe an update will be given.

Beautiful day
Yesterday was in the high 60s and today in the 70s. Then rain and cooler starting Friday. I love the nice weather, believe me, but it is hard as a professor to teach. If you teach inside, students either skip or don't want to be there. I held my afternoon seminar outside yesterday, and while they enjoyed it, the students were distracted by bugs, wet grass, stuff falling off of trees, bugs--and these are grad students! Ah well. We often don't have nice days until the end of spring term, and it always feels like you are getting away with something when you have class outside.

Yesterday was also a day that I was--literally--interacting with people for ten hours straight. My interactions with students were good but with others were very tense. That is not fun.

I'm going to the farm this morning to visit the alpacas.

Mrs. Wilson
This is a 3-part series that aired recently on PBS. If you haven't seen it, you should. First, it starred Ruth Wilson, who I think is one of the best actresses today. And Iain Glenn, who is not shabby either. The story was based on a true story and it was fascinating.  A woman marries her boss during WW2 in the UK, but he is not who he seems to be.

Poem in your Pocket Day!
It is today, y'all!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Q&A from Kathy

*What’s your favorite Pet movie?
I don't have one!
*Have you, do you play video games?
We used to play Nintendo Wii but stopped it when we got a new TV that didn't use it as well.
3. Discussing air travel with a friend recently, made me think about this question.
Do you like take off and landings?  Do you enjoy the cruising time on a plane?
Take off makes me a bit worried, landings are great, and the cruising is fine for me. 
4. Mason Dixon recently asked, DO you prefer fair isle or Duplicate stitch? So I’ll ask that of you as well.  Which do you prefer?
5. Did you see the SNL skit last weekend about women who hate to shop for clothing?  It was spot on!  Do you like to shop for clothing?  Google it: The Shopping Experience for People Who Hate Shopping….
I buy most stuff online so I"m good with it.
6. Some people love those interchangeable needles.  Do you?
Not really. I feel like they break too easily.
7. Have you ever called the Fire Department?
HA! Yes I have. One time my fire alarm was going off and I couldn't figure out why. While on the phone, the person was asking me what electric things were on. It turned out that I had the kettle on with no water in it. 
8. Do you know anyone who had a home birth?  ( how random is this? at least the question is not did you call the fire department during your home birth.right?)
I don't think so.
9. Boiled egg, Cadbury Egg, or Marshmallow Egg?
Cadbury egg!
10. When was the last time you rode on a bus?
Huh. I'm not sure. We have busses here but I never ride them. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday: Lots of thoughts

Warning: I have lots of thoughts today

New tiny needle project

 While we are trying to be 'not too beachy' at the new house, I had to start on this whale.

I've realized (warning: thought) that when I have these sort of fast projects to do, I can be much more patient with my bigger/more involved knitting projects. I used to always have to have a mitt or something fast to do since I needed to see a FO  but with these I don't need to. Needless to say, I really enjoy these little zen pieces.

Spring in the Garden

I've noticed (yes, another thought is coming) that I never have grape hyacinths AND daffodils AND tulips all at the same time.  And I rarely have tulips for Easter. So having a trifecta is a surprise--the grapes and daffodils were late due to our late snow, I believe, and the deer have not come by to graze on the tulips---yet.

Spring at school

The rhodies are blooming.

The magnolia is almost done.

I'm thinking (a thought) that those two lines are a start of a poem.  Sort of in the rhythm of 'The Wild Swans at Coole' but of course not as good because I'm not Yeats.

The rhodies are blooming
The magnolias leaves are green
Under a spring sky of blue and clouds
Such beauty can be seen.
Upon the millrace flowing still
Are ten gazillion geese.

Jessie Cat
She is in charge of the house while we're gone at the coast. She hides for the first few hours we're back to indicate her displeasure but then she comes around.

She's 13 and not in great health and seems to love this black box more than life itself. I think.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A lot of look

The weekend at the coast was much needed. There's a lot of 'life' coming up soon so it is great to have quiet and calm and ocean around us.


This is at the point where there are so, so many stitches on the needle.

And honestly I'm not even halfway done with it. 

IT is hard to see all the individual patterns but they're there.

I read "You think it, I'll say it" by Curtis Sittenfeld in one rainy afternoon. I think I mentioned I"m not really into short stories but these are all absolutely charming and wonderful.

I am now reading "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler and I just kind of want to be Amy Poehler's friend.

We watched the Pilot of "Shakespeare and Hathaway" and are unsure whether we will continue watching this. Do you watch it? Is it good?

We also watched three episodes of 'Forever' which is an Amazon original and it was slow and not funny. Which is a surprise given that it has Fred Armisen in it. And Maya Rudolph. Did you know Fred Armisen was married to Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss)? And Maya Rudolph is Minnie Riperton's daughter (I knew she was someone famous' daughter). At the end of "Loving You is Easy 'Cause You're Beautiful" she sings "Maya" a lot.


More Zen

Did someone ask for bird pictures?

Two birds!