Sunday, May 31, 2020

Things I don't have right now

-the ability to concentrate
-the ability to focus
-the ability to turn off my brain
-a good night's sleep
-any more tears

I'm in a bad, bad place--I'm guessing many of you are too. What is this country? Who are we? Why are we letting this happen?

I can't read. I find it hard to knit. I am constantly refreshing my browser to see what new horrors are out there. There's a protest happening in Eugene right now that my friend Deb's husband is covering, and I'm scared for him. I'm scared for all my black students. And my black friends and colleagues. I'm scared for our country.

I also don't have a baby cria--but I know I will. I KNOW I WILL. So if I can have faith for a cria, can I have faith for other things?

Let's look at some pictures.

We bought some plants for our deck yesterday. A coupe near us runs a small 'greenhouse' which is basically plastic cloths over a bunch of arches with lots of plants enough. We bought a dwarf cherry tree:

And this little one that is supposed to have some great flowers.

And a Lion's main maple.

While walking yesterday, we found some yarn bombing!

Highlight: the Friday night Zoom meeting with Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt.

May tomorrow be better.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday morning

No word yet on baby alpaca--it is still early though (it is before 8am here). Generally, they don't like giving birth if it is hot or if it is rainy.

I hope it is today, I don't think it will be tomorrow. I asked Tim this morning if he thought it would be today and he said "No. It is always like this. They make us wait and wait." And he's right!

So stay tuned.

The Moon Shawl

This is pretty fun to knit. Here's the schematic:

Here it is now--it is too big to stretch out on the needle, and it is upside down (oops) but it is coming along. I'm working on the second half of the 'medium' color in the schematic above.

Here is a close up. There is i-cord bind off between the elements, which is fiddly, but it looks cool.

Yesterday was one of the most amazing sunsets ever. We are at that time in the year when the sun sets almost directly behind the rock--it should be like this (or a little further North) for a few weeks now. We did a quick walk around the block last night so we could see this from a few perspectives.

Although in retrospect they all look the same.

Coming up
One more week of classes--although in my undergrad class they're finishing a project, and in the graduate class they're finishing multiple projects.

Whenever the cria comes, I'll be able to go back to Eugene almost immediately. I have things organized that I can just throw stuff in the truck so that's good.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Cria update: no cria

Ann thought the baby alpaca might come today, but it is almost noon so probably not (they tend to give birth in the morning, as the little one needs to be up and moving by nightfall).

Stay tuned for more updates about a cria not being born.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


It is week 9 of the term and it was such a treat to not have any responsibilities yesterday. Tim spent much of the day doing woodworking projects and I worked on cards in the morning (which is as much play as it is work) and made cookies in the afternoon (more work!). I grilled burgers and asparagus for dinner and it was a good day.

Sunday night was fun too--our neighbors Patty and Kevin had a fire outside and we went over at around 7:30 and hung out til 10. It was a lovely night with neighbors--at a social distance, of course.

I read "The Man of My Dreams", an older book by Curtis Sittenfeld (who also wrote Rodham) and I'm surprised I hadn't come across this one. I enjoyed it--a story of a young woman growing up and the family and men that shape her life. It was set in Boston (a lot of it) and I always enjoy a Boston-set book.

This is finished:

The photos were taken in two different places--the bottom one in more natural light. I really like this one.

I think that's it?

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A little sun, a little conversation, a little knitting

It's Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and we have another day of weekend! Hooray! Here are some quick updates.

1. Tink is very pregnant.  Her due date is 6/5 but an 'on time' delivery is considered the two weeks before and two weeks after. She became 'two weeks before' last Friday. I'm going to miss the birth but given the schedule I'm pretty sure I can get back to Eugene the day she gives birth (as long as it isn't this Wednesday after 11am).

 Ann sent this photo today.  She's big. And she is drinking a lot of water, which is a good sign.

2. Some knitting! This is Hope and Breathe. It is really mindless knitting (which is good) but  I haven't had a lot of mindless time.

3. I put the social in social distancing! My friend Lauren has a coast house about an hour north of here, and she was there for a couple days, and stopped by on her way back to Eugene. It was great to see her and catch up (we Zoom but it isn't the same). Tonight we're heading over to our neighbors Kevin and Patty for a little outside gathering with a group of neighbors. 

4. Another visitor: 

This guy comes and visits our back fence every day, sometimes several times a day.  Tim thinks it is an oriole. 

5. I finished "Rodham" and it was good but still disconcerting to be reading a novel written in first person by a real person. 

Hope you have the kind of Memorial Day that you want!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Holding our breaths on the coast

I haven't been a good blogger this week--it has been busy with lots of grading, helping students, and dealing with the increasingly stupid decisions and tone deaf communications from the University leadership. It has been pretty rainy here too. I'm looking forward to doing fun stuff at home this weekend, and my friend Lauren is at her coast house an hour north of here and will hopefully come by on her way back to Eugene.

It is Memorial Day weekend, and even though the beaches are not yet open we're expecting a lot of people to come to the coast, especially since it is supposed to be a nice weekend. The hotels are still closed, as is the beach parking lots, but more restaurants are open. We have no plans to venture out at all. I did a quick stock up at the grocery yesterday.

Here are some pictures though, First up, a thank you card. Some neighbors we don't know very well gave us a gift of canned tuna (Scott is a fisherman and caught the tuna out in the ocean--about 50 miles out, and Barbara canned it).

 Did I tell you I got an embossing machine? Basically it is a pasta roller that you use with special embossing folders. Here is the closeup of the 'circle' above--
It gives some nice dimensions to the card.

This is a card for a 15-year old boy, because how are you supposed to know what kind of a card to give a 15 year old boy?


The moon shawl know has 'sky' on both sides. Thi is a fun knit. 

Last night's sunset was unlike any we have seen.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

It's the home stretch!

Today is my last 'teaching' day for the undergrad class--they have an exam next Wednesday and their final projects are due the week after that.

My grad class is working in small teams to finish up our big class project.

There's a mountain of grading coming in, but I feel like the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Usually by now I'm thinking of projects I want to knit over the summer, but I'm thinking more about making cards and other things. I did bring a bunch of wool yarn out here to make felted slippers so those are on the list. Plus I have a bunch of projects that I have yarn for out here--but it is weird that there is none of the 'oh lets look at the stash and figure out what to do'. I will be going back to Eugene fairly regularly once the cria is born though, so maybe it will feel a bit different.

Anyway, I did these two cards yesterday (and they aren't yet cards, they need to put on top of a card at some point):

These have four layers of paper on them--the dark pink base, the bird, and then the flowers over the branches. I colored those all by hand with copic markers. I love how these look, and will try them with different colors next.

I'm reading 'Rodham' and it is good, but it is weird to read fiction with a first person narrator who I am familiar with. The novel reimagines what would happen if Hillary didn't marry Bill. Bill is THERE but she teaches law at Northwestern while he has his political career. I like it but it is unsettling.

Have a good day!

Monday, May 18, 2020


It was a good weekend. Oregon has started its first phase of 'opening up' but the hotels and parks in our county are still closed, and it wasn't a great weather weekend so it was pretty quiet in town. Most of the little restaurants are going to continue during carry out and not have sit-down for a bit.   The hotels are scheduled to open after Memorial Day, and that has me a bit on edge but I guess it will be good for our little beach town.

I spent a bit of time playing with jewelry on the cutting machine. I cut out lots of little things for pendants.

I did a lot of cutting out.
Then I realized I liked that little star, and did a pendant of those.

If you have any desire for a little necklace, let me know. I have all the colors of the rainbow for cords.

I also cast on for a new project that could be pretty cool. It's called Moon and I think it is going to look really cool when it is done. You start with the 'full moon' and then work your way out from there.

What else? We watched "Bombshell" and I kept thinking how Covid-19 changed everything in terms of importance.

I read "Catherine House" which is getting lots and lots of hype and--it was OK. It is creepy if you like creepy books.

I also read a book on the history of Kensington Palace, and learned all about the Hanoverians and also it clarified Victoria's backstory so that was good.

That is about it from here. How was your weekend?

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Mystery TNT

I've just started this piece, which I really like.

It will be a whale when it is done (well so much for the mystery!). I have a fuzzy design printed on the solvy paper but I'm relying on a photo to be sure I do this right. It should be pretty amazing looking!

We had a horrific faculty meeting yesterday, with the Provost telling us that we shouldn't pay too much attention to Dr. Fauci because there are many ways to interpret studies (he was referring to studies about why you shouldn't be in an enclosed room for several hours).  He blamed everyone except the administration for the financial mess we're in---the state, the union, the students, but not anyone who is in any position to manage a budget. We also got lectured on our privilege. And at the end he said "I love participating in these morale building sessions." And he was not being ironic.

This weekend will be quiet and a bit rainy---reading, doing some crafts, and enjoying the fire. I hope yours is good.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

My huge lack of focus

You may have noticed my posts are kind of sparse and rambling--I have a huge lack of focus these days. I know this isn't unusual in these times, but I really miss being focused. I think this is due to a few things. I'm pulled in so many directions each day--where I used to have maybe two solid hours of students visiting my offie two days a week, I now have constant requests to meet, meetings to schedule, connections to make, questions to answer, meetings to zoom into that are only being held because people who aren't teaching this term need something to do, just. so. much.

I also have a hard time turning things off, especially on Wednesdays which is my intense day.

And to show how unfocused I am: I started this post with a specific goal of addressing something but now I cannot figure out what.

Oh I remember now. The other reason is worry over what will happen to education in the future. Obviously I have no crystal ball, but what makes most sense to me is that two categories of schools will survive: private schools with large endowments, and large state schools. We have seven state schools in Oregon, and my guess is that at the end of the day three will survive. I think we'll also see a sea change for undergrads to do most of their first two years at community colleges, taking many if not all of their classes online, and then move to universities for the last two years. It could be that college dorms can be used for the influx of community college students.

But we'll see. I guess in my case I'll be out of here before it all shakes out but I think this is really the end of the current system of higher education.

I do have some pretty knitting:

It's Hope and Breathe, by Casapinka.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

These are going very slow

These socks, that is. These are the zig zag socks, and you can see the zig zag in the smaller picture but not so much in the larger picture.

We had a nice weekend, with lots of crafts (me) and working on his kayak (Tim), along with a good long walk. We watched "Knives Out" which was fun.

I also read "Big Summer" by Jennifer Weiner and even though it went on too long, it kept me focused which I needed in a book. I am now reading "Catherine House" and it seems creepy and good.

What's up with you?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

And now for something completely different

I've been playing around with jewelry! 

My miraculous cutting machine will cut thin leather, so I'm trying a few things.

First, two necklaces:

 This is the rock! The circle on the outside got a little wonky.

 This is a whale's tail!

These are both two layered--the silver layer is cut out and the back layer is solid navy blue. It took many iterations to get a good size (and these are still kind of big, but I worry that the cuts won't work if they get any smaller.

 I also have a few bracelets that I'm working on-here's one!

And next weekend: SHRINKY DINKS!!

Happy Mother's Day to all my mother blog reading friends. The dogs gave me a very cute card this morning. We talked to both our moms--Tim's is 97 and mine is 92. I have always had a bit of a challenging relationship with my mother and it isn't getting better, but she does enjoy the cards I send her. She thinks I can sell them for $20 each. She's a bit nuts.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

First summer day of 2020

The temperature rose to about 85 degrees yesterday, which is very rare. Maybe twice last summer it got that hot? So we opened all the windows in the house (that only has happened once before) and enjoyed the day. I worked outside on the deck until the lack of shade forced me inside (maybe around 2pm) and after a bunch of meetings took a trip to the 'transfer station' (aka the dump) to dump the cardboard and took a brief drive by the coast on the way home. It was gorgeous.

Last night we had social distance happy hour at our neighbors' George and Terry--our little group of neighbors enjoy getting together every so often. It was fun. I wore a dress for the first time in for ever.

Here was the little embroidery once I finished it:

 And then I soaked off the paper and here is what I ended up with:

In retrospect, a lighter background would have been better but I still like it. I love how the leaves pop out.

And last night was probably the best sunset ever. Here are two of the gazillion photos I took.

Beautiful, yes?

Thursday, May 07, 2020

And yet another shawl

I've started Breathe and Hope by Casapinka, using some yarn I got on clearance from a Portland dyer who has gone out of business (Black Trillium, goodbye, you were a lovely shop with lovely yarn).

These are two colors of blue and they are so, so pretty.

What else? Well it has bene busy at work, of course, but we're just about done with week 6 so only 4 weeks and finals week left. I think I can get this done.

I've been searching for a good book and nothing is 'taking'. I read "Polite Society" which is a retelling of Emma in India which was--fine. I kept reading it but it didn't 'grab' me. I'm now reading "Girls Like Us" which is about Carole King and Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon and so far it is good but not grabbing me.

I may have to reread "State of Wonder" for the gazillionth time.

Other than that, it is work and bananagrams and Carcasone and insomnia.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Bit of this, bit of that

Today I celebrate because I only have one Zoom meeting. Yesterday I had four. That was four too many.

Storm Shawl
IT IS DONE and is blocking in the sauna. It needs to come out of the sauna to get a better photo!

This second photo was taken using the panorama mode.

Cheerful colors!

There were rumors of a shortage on embroidery floss.

Foggy morning!
I love when there's a clear fog line.

That's it for today!