Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh Spring,For Where Art Thou

It's been a long winter. It's been cold, cold, cold. We had snow in Seattle on the 20th of April. It has been dark too, making it seem like winter is dragging on. I hate having daylight savings time start in March. The mornings are so dark for so long. It's unnatural. People and animals need that morning light in the early spring to start feeling alive. The calendar says it's Spring, but it feels like winter.

David and I went to Portland a couple of weekends ago for the Solar Energy Show and had a wonderful time. We took a little trip without dogs and stayed in a hotel downtown, just like real people.

We've are seriously considering installing solar panels on our home at Edgar's Acres so we've been doing our homework and trying to get ourselves educated. We'd like to know what we're talking about when we start checking out systems and contractors.

The show was at the Oregon Convention Center and what a beautiful venue it is. Getting there from downtown proved to be an adventure for us, albeit, a very pleasant one.

Now I need to tell you that I was born and raised in Portland, and worked in downtown Portland for many years. When we moved from Portland 20 years ago Max was the light rail that traveled from Gresham to downtown. David and I stayed at the Marriott on the banks of the Willamette River, which is a six block walk to the light rail. We decided to walk to the light rail, ride across the Steel Bridge, and zip on over to the Oregon Convention Center. Not a problem, except ... we got on the wrong line. We hopped on the Yellow line and ended up going north to the Expo Center, next to the Oregon/Washington border. When the Yellow line crossed the river, it stopped at the Rose Garden for transfers to the Red and Blue Lines. Silly us, we stayed on the Yellow Line. Nice ride though, and we enjoyed the scenery. We got back on the Yellow line and asked the conductor about getting to the OCC. He said to take the Yellow line to Old Town, get off, and go "across the street" and take the Blue or Red line to the OCC. So, we rode across the Steel Bridge again, got off at Old Town, got on the Blue Line, went across the Steel Bridge again, and got off at the OCC, which is across the street from the transfer station at the Rose Garden. What should have taken 10 minutes, took us 30. That's what happens when it COLD OUTSIDE and you get on the first light rail that comes along. Who knew there were Red, Yellow and Blue lines now. Still a great way to get around town, though. Too bad Seattle hasn't a clue.
Saturday evening we caught up with John and went to Harvey's for a great comedy revue. We laughed, and we laughed. It was sort of odd too. I had been in this same room for a show over 30 years ago. Back then it was called the Roaring 20's Room, and the show was Darcel's Revue. Later we caught up with Frank for dinner. It was wonderful seeing both of the guys. I have been missing them alot, and it was a great Mom fix for me.
Sunday David and I went up to the Rose Test Gardens to walk around in the COLD AND SNOW. Still beautiful all the same.

I love Portland and miss living there, but now have a wonderful life in Bellevue. Downtown Portland really is the best. It's flat and has a lot of green space for people to just sit and enjoy the day.
Last Tuesday I was still cold and decided I needed to do something about it, if I could. Since it's my feet that hate this cold weather I decided I needed to knit a pair of Spring wool socks. Socks in bright spring colors.
I'm almost to the toe on the first sock, and today it was 60 degrees. This past Saturday the sun was out and all of the trees and flowers were rejoicing. I have mentioned my sock project to several people at work, and one of the attorneys said "KNIT FAST!!!!!"

I'm also knitting away on the EZ shawl. Each round now has 576 stitches and it is taking a long while to get one round done. In her book, Elizabeth Zimmermann said that once you have the 576 stitches, you knit "40 rounds, or until you're tired." Well, I'm planning on the 40 rows.
I love the way the Hand Maiden Swiss Mountain Silk is knitting up. It is just too soft, and look at the luster of the yarn.
I'll continue on the shawl, and on the socks so my little veggie beds can get to growing. We are hungry for fresh lettuce, radishes, and spinach. And ...
I would love to move my tomato and pepper plants out of the knitting room. It won't be tomorrow, however, since it's supposed to get up to just a whopping 47 degrees. Better get back to knitting those socks!



Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm Still Around

I can't believe it's been three weeks! I've no excuse except I've been tired, crabby, and totally out of sorts. Lots due to the cold weather, partly due to life in general, but primarily due to the fact that I'm still not getting enough sleep.

I've spent the last three weeks going through the usual "at our age" medical tests (according to my doctor who is also 57), and am as healthy as an ox. Just tired. I have sleep apnoea and have been on a CPAP for 5 years. I'm still tired, but not EXHAUSTED like I was before the CPAP. After taking care of all of the "at our age" tests, I spent a night at the sleep clinic, where it was determined the pressures on the CPAP are too low. I'm not getting enough deep sleep. You know, the sleep that makes you feel like you are alive. And I thought I was just becoming a disinterested lazy, crabby old lady.

I am knitting, but not much. With this tiredness comes the problem of concentration and thinking. The garter stitch and I are great friends, as well as circular knitting. I've been taking pictures, and am planning on posting them this weekend (if I'm awake).

Don't give up on me, and please continue to visit once in a while. You can also leave a comment just to let me know I'm not communicating with thin air.
Stay warm.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Right Brain/Left Brain

Try this little test. I imagine most knitters are right brain. I was. However, when I thought left brain, I suddenly was. Good sign I guess to know I'm using both sides of my brain ... probably a relief for family, friends and employer.

It's Saturday and Cynthia will be coming over this morning so we can block the lace shawl she just finished. It is beautiful.



Thursday, April 3, 2008

Oprah Winfrey and Puppy Mills

As many of you know, I have been involved in the dog rescue organization for many years. Many of the dogs that are rescued are products of the greed of puppy mills.

Tomorrow Oprah Winfrey will be highlighting the nightmares of puppy mills on her show. That is Friday, April 4. Here is the link to the newsletter covering this event.

Hurray for Oprah! Finally, a show that will really shock the viewing audience.

Please encourage everyone to watch. Here's the link to find out what time and channel Oprah's show is on.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008


It's been such a long, cold, windy, rainy and gray winter. It seems like the longest winter of my life. I know a lot has to do with the fact that Mom died in late September on the last warm, sunny day of 2007. We have all been in need of sun and warmth.

We went over to Edgar's Acres this weekend, with me making smart remarks at work about heading over to the Banana Belt to get out of the snow storm we had all day on Friday in Seattle.

It was cold Friday night when we got to Edgar's Acres, but that was alright. We were out of town and ready for a quiet weekend. The hope was to be able to get the potatoes and onions planted and we were praying for decent weather to do so. If it turned out too cold to plant, well, I had my knitting with me.

Saturday morning I woke up to SUN and it was beautiful. The Olympic Mountains were covered with new snow and I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I turned around to look at the garden and was happily surprised to see these ...

The Clarkia have been blooming all winter long, but look at these. They look like a bouquet of flowers just for us. Actually, they are growing out of the compose bin so I imagine their roots have been nice and warm all winter long.

Then the clouds moved in, it rained, so I went into the house to knit. In the early afternoon we had a four hour window of opportunity.

I got the lawn mowed, and David was able to get the beds ready for the potatoes and onions. I no sooner got the mower in the garage, when the sky opened up dumping snow and rain, and hail and rain. And wind, a very cold north wind. I went back into the house and knit.

An hour later, we were able to go out on the deck for a glass of wine while dinner cooked, ate dinner, and then planted ourselves in front of the wood stove, because it got real cold again, real fast.

So I got back to my knitting.

I've been knitting the circumnavigational shawl in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.

I originally bought the book for the darling baby sweater, but became intrigued with the shawl. It's all based on Pi, and you double the stitches on a row and then knit double the number of rounds, based on the number of stitches. Like spokes on a bike wheel, the more rows you knit, the larger the diameter, and circumference.
I started this last week, and am using the Hand Maiden cashmere/silk yarn. It is a knitter's dream, and love the way the yarn feels in my hand while knitting. I plan to use this shawl this spring and summer when sitting on the deck in the evenings when it is a bit chilly.

I was very carefully adding stitches and counting rows but was beginning to wonder why it wasn't larger than it was. I went back to the instructions. Yep, right number of stitches, right number of rows, but wait ... the shawl is supposed to be about 72" across when it's done ... and I only have 60 more rounds to knit ... something wrong. I went back to the instructions again, and yep, everything counts up right. I got gauge at 4 stitches per inch, got the number of stitches, got the right number of rows, but it's only about 40" when it should be about 55". Again, I checked the instructions, and I got gauge at 3 STITCHES PER INCH. OOPS!!!!! My bad, wrong gauge. I'm not sure where I got the 4 stitches per inch gauge idea, but it was stuck in the old brain.

Oh well. Good thing I am loving to knit up this yarn. I pulled out a pair of size 10 needles and started the shawl again, at 3 STITCHES PER INCH this time, just like the instructions say.

Much better. I think we are going to make it this time.

This is the first shawl I started on at 4 stitches per inch.

This is the shawl I am knitting up now at 3 STITCHES PER INCH.

The shawl on the left has 94 rounds of knitting at 4 stitches per inch. The shawl on the right has 42 rounds of knitting at 3 stitches per inch. Same circumference.

All is good now. I will have my shawl for use this spring and summer, and I have enough yarn.

This evening while I was downloading pictures on my computer I turned around to see what Johnny had been doing. He had his toys scattered all over the place again.
Including the big white toy in the toy box.

Wait a minute, he doesn't have any toy that big ...

It's A.J. taking a nap. Love that dog!