Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's kind of sad that I'm so proud to finally finish a project, but I am. Now, I need to wait three months for it to be cool enough to feel like wearing this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Making Progress

We took Paige up to U.C. Davis this weekend, which gave me lots of time to knit, on the drive home, at least. Russ drove a U-Haul truck, and I drove our Honda Pilot on the way up..all six hours. Paige could have driven part of the way for me, but I don't think she got much sleep the time before, so I thought I'd let her rest. Russ didn't feel comfortable driving over 60 mph, so it ended up being one long trip! I got to knit the whole way home today though, and I didn't even feel too sad. Of all of the schools that Paige could have gone to, this is the one I had hoped she'd decide on. It's least to me, 36,000 students, compared to the 800 students at the little now-defunct Lutheran College Russ and I attended in Nebraska, but U.C. Davis still doesn't feel impersonal somehow. I've always loved the town of Davis with its tree-lined streets and old homes. It's not slick or overly-citified, but there are tons of nice restaurants and activities. Paige seems excited about it all too. She's majoring in Biological Nutrition, which sounds impressive to me, whatever that means.

 Davis had a farmer's market before they become so ubiquitous, and I love how organic farming is so popular in that area. After a day of hectically getting Paige settled, buying $100 worth of "necessities" at Rite Aid, $50 worth of plants at The Redwood Barn Nursery because her Mama thought she needed some live stuff outside her apartment door, over $100 worth of stuff at World Market, like a rug to cover the blue 1980s carpet in her room, and nearly $100 at Trader Joe's, Russ and I were beat! Paige, who has two good friends going to Davis too, headed off to eat with them, and we found...The Farmer's Kitchen Cafe.

 So, the atmosphere is pretty much non-existent, but the food was wonderful. We shared a plate of heirloom tomatoes with aioli sauce, and then I had the best chicken noodle soup I've ever eaten. It had homemade noodles, lots of vegetables, avocado and lemon in it. Russ had tamales, which he said were wonderful too.

 We thought about ending the evening with a little stop at Let Them Eat Cake for a cupcake, but considering we've spent even more money than we probably realize, and that won't be letting up anytime soon, since tuition at U.C. Davis keeps climbing, we opted to go back to our hotel, which was the only unpleasant part of our stay. We'd only planned to stay one night, but Paige, uncharacteristically, wanted us to stay another day, and all of the hotels in Davis were taken by the parents of the 36,000 kids who were moving in this weekend, so we stayed at a hotel outside of town, which was.....well clean, but really cheap, as in cinderblock walls and no shampoo in the shower cheap.
We thought Paige would probably want to sleep in this morning, but she was game for breakfast, so we went to The Delta of Venus for breakfast. Paige just had oatmeal, but I had the  "Adam's Special," a huge plate of scrambled eggs with pesto and sundried tomatoes and jack cheese, and chilles. Did I mention that I'd like to lose some weight this fall? This wasn't the weekend to concentrate on that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arwen Scarf

The alpaca yarn that my friend bought for me in Montana is called "Lupine Gardens," which is the perfect name for yarn with such nice subtle tones of purple and green. I should quit trying to take pictures at night so that maybe I can actually show the colors of the objects I'm trying to share. This pic doesn't do it justice.

This yarn is so wonderfully soft. Did I say something about knitting a beret last week? I don't know what I was thinking. I don't wear berets.  I do, however, wear scarves. I found the perfect scarf pattern to show off  in my beautiful yarn, and that will be perfect for the 175 yards of yarn in the skein. It's the the Arwen Keyhole Scarf. I'm funny about my knitting preferences. I don't want a project that's too easy, or I get bored; plus, I'm usually not too proud of doing things that require no skill. On the other hand, I like having a project that I can take in the care and not need to have a pattern along. This is the perfect fit for me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I love Saturday mornings. Russ and I usually get some good exercise in, and then we have a hearty breakfast, something we never have time for during the week. I usually fix something we call "cauliflower salsa." That may not sound that good to everyone, but we love it.  I finely chop up about two cups of cauliflower, some red onion, about a quarter cup red bell pepper, and a jalapeno or two. I cook the veggies in olive oil with a little ghee, until the cauliflower is a little browned, then I turn off the heat and add about a quarter cup cilantro. I used to put the "salsa" on scrambled eggs and top it off with a little cheddar cheese, but lately, we've been having it on brown rice. Today, we had it with both scrambled eggs and brown rice. We always top it off with Rock-It Sauce, which is wonderful. It was delicious! Not exactly diet food, but delicious.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Real Knitting

My running partner and I have been running together for over fifteen years. We're about the same age, we're both teachers, and we share a lot of political views, which is nice since we can rant to each other for an hour most morning without offending each other. Other than that, we're pretty different. She doesn't have kids, travels a lot with her husband, and isn't into crafting of any kind or gardening, BUT she is appreciative of those of us who are. Last year, she and her husband went skiing in Montana, and she brought me back some yarn from Creations Yarn Shop and Fiber Station in Ennis Montana. The varigated yarn is alpaca, and the purple is partly cashmere. What a nice friend! Both skeins have been sitting in my yarn basket,. In my attempt to find a little direction in my knitting, I thought I'd finally figure out something to do with them. I decided upon a beret. I'm knitting the meret from Wooly Wormhead.  I've just barely gotten started, but I'm feeling excited about it already. Now, if only the temps would go down, so I can actually imagine wearing wool.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Beach Saturday

  We lived close enough to the Central Coast beaches that a Saturday at the beach isn't much of an undertaking. In fact, there are several teachers at the high school and college who commute from beach communities everyday. We used to go with the kids quite often, but when they were in high school, weekends were usually full of soccer matches, swim meets, or volleyball games.With two kids now in college, we'v discovered that we like each other's company quite a bit still and have started making weekend trips to the beach a regular thing again.
 Living in a desert during September isn't very conducive to running, which is something we both enjoy, so we really like to start our day with a run in the nice, cool, sometimes foggy weather. This is a picture of the beginning of the Johnson Ranch trail near San Luis Obispo. It's three and a half miles, with some pretty good hills. We ran it twice on Saturday, with a minimum amount of walking. Russ finished about ten minutes ahead of me, so you know who did the most walking.

We usually spend our afternoons on the beach at Pismo, but we really like Morro Bay better. It's another half an hour to get there though. We got an early start on Saturday, so we decided that Morro Bay it was.  What a perfect day! I had kind of pictured knitting on the beach, but I opted for a nap instead.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Gotta Branch Out

 So...I'm still having trouble getting going with anything substantial on the "knitting front." It's  just so difficult to envision needing anything warm when it's still extremely hot outside. I still am enjoying mindless knitting though. I've been knitting tiny mittens again.
 I have a plan for them that I may not follow through with. My daughter, Paige, is leaving in a couple of weeks to attend U.C. Davis in Northern California.  She's excited to finally be leaving home after spending two years at our local community college. She'll be rooming with three other girls in off-campus housing, and, although they didn't know either other until a meeting on a Davis Facebook forum for transfer students, they've been planning "apartment" decorating all summer...on student budgets, of course. I have this idea that I'll send them little "holiday" decorations throughout the year. I'm picturing making a little mitten and hat bunting for them to put up around Christmas time. I've noticed a "pink" trend in a lot of their little projects, a pink gate with their names on it, for example, for a little gate they have in their back walkway.
I'm not sure how I'll feel on the day we drop Paige off five hours away from home, but right now, I feel happy for her...and us. It can't have been easy to have your mother be a teacher in a small town. I knew way too much about some of her questionable choices in high school and college. I think we're all ready to have her start her big adventure. I do think she'll miss us a little though. The other night she came home, and as she walked in, she said, "I love our house." I'm thinking she mainly meant the full fridge, but I liked that she seemed to already start appreciating how nice we tried to make it for her and her brother, whether they noticed it or not.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

End of Summer

We always end our summer with a week up in Northern California, visiting my parents who live in Fortuna. We've been doing this since before our children were born, so we've had time to develop many rituals that the kids are especially demanding that we observe each year, despite the fact that they are eighteen and twenty years old. Some year we take along our "old beagle" Rowdy who pines for us at the dog-sitters otherwise. Rowdy considers this trip the highlight of his entire year. 

. One of our long-time rituals has been to have lunch at Hurricane Kate's in Eureka. This year we parked a block away, walked up to our favorite restaurant, ...and it was closed--closed, as in you could look inside and see that the kitchen had been demoed. Kai, especially, took it hard. He's not a fan of the rest of our adventurous tastes, and Hurricane Kates made all of us happy with bacon cheeseburgers with sweet potato fries for him, and things like Lime Rock Shrimp Salad Sandwich or Falafel sandwiches for the rest of us. Oh, and the French-press coffee! I say this with a smile now, but I have to admit that I felt a little catch in my throat as I got out my phone to try to find somewhere else to eat. We have a lot of happy memories from that restaurant!

We were kind of hungry by the time that we discovered the tragedy of Hurricane Kate's closing, so we didn't want to mess around. We decided to drive across the bay to Woodley Island, where there's a restaurant called Cafe Marina. It was good in a generic "by the ocean" kind of way. Paige and I had a couple of oyster shooters, which was kind of fun, partly because it grossed Kai out and partly because they were really good.

We managed to complete all of other rituals during our week visit though, eating at No Brand Burger Stand in Ferndale. which has added chalk to their table decor, so the kids didn't have to miss the crayons on butcher paper from Hurricane Kate's.

My family eats pretty healthily most of the time. We eat a lot of seafood and vegetarian main dishes, and tons of vegetables. I'm not exactly anal about it; it's just easier to clean the stove if you haven't cooked a bunch of greasy food on it. I truly can't remember the last time I cooked a hamburger, but I do love a good hamburger, and one of the things we never, ever miss is the Cajun-bacon-cheeseburger at No Brand Burger Stand. Guy Fieri is from Ferndale, not that I like Guy Fieri that much, but he loves No Brand Burger Stand. I'm getting hungry just thinking about one right now. Oh well, there's next year to look forward to.

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been that excited about knitting lately, just kind of distracted by other things, but I was already starting to work on my fun projects by the time we headed up North. My dad had a surprise for me when got there that has gotten my even more excited about knitting again. First of all, he had a huge bundle of fleece from a friend of his who raises Romeny sheep, and he had started a spinning wheel for me. Actually, I knew that he had started a spinning wheel from phone conversations, but I hadn't realized how intricate of a wheel he was creating. He sent me some pictures of his progress this week. Yep, I better start looking into how to spin.