Thursday, January 31, 2008

congress to raise alpacas

G'day all!

Some kind person around here has free wireless so we are using it. How nice are they?

Anyway, I have to share this news from the Onion with you:
US Congress will raise alpacas to help raise money for the US economy.

If you haven't looked around the Onion before, I recommend it. (But be aware it is satirical and most of the "news" reported isn't.)

Once I have unpacked some more (everything is out of the boxes now, but we still are in the bombsite stage) I'll blog a bit and get some pics of the surrounds.


Monday, January 28, 2008

For me?

G'day all!

Hooray! We have a place to live! We are moving to Campbell. We have a two bed one bath place with a nice patio for growing plants and a bit of open space between us and the freeway over the noise barrier. Little whitter birds twitter around the area. So far we have seen birds that are almost the spit of willie wagtails and grey fantails. They even make very similar whitterings. We are there from tomorrow onwards for six months. Why six months? To make sure we like the place and the area. being locked in for 12 months would be Bad, mkay?, if we don't like it there or I eventually get a job 20 miles away. (Moving is a huge hassle too)

Boo hiss - we are about to lose our net connection cos we are moving to a place where we don't have net set up (yet). Of course this means that my online access won't be that much worse than at present as DH and I are sharing this laptop = I don't get much online stuff in the evenings, and my days recently have been very busy indeed, what with trying to find a place and trawling up and down from one end of town to the other by PT. I walked for three hours one afternoon last week IN THE RAIN trying to find a place. And I lost a favourite hat. Considering how cold it has been here (ok, lots of rain and 10C, like eat your hearts out Canadians!), I need all the hats I have! :-{

In other Very Important News, I have received my first ever award! I don't think I ever received one before. I've been blogging for over three years, so I am very excited :-D

Not An Artist nominated me for

Gosh, I feel like an Oscar winner except I don't have a frock and a nice pair of heels to wear at present. Thank you, Not An Artist!

"Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times." I'm not sure that I will find 10 who have not been given the award yet (Catena Expressions and Sknitty are two who already have them that I would nominate).

  1. 2paw for her general attitude and Aussieness
  2. Cathy for having FIVE sons!
  3. She knits by the seashore for the bikeriding and support for Crohn's sufferers
  4. Smatterings for making beautiful things and sharing such beautiful pics
  5. Artis-Anne for more never say die attitude
  6. Mrspao for learning to speak out :-)

Not quite 10 but hey it is a good start!

In other news, I have some pics of socks. Given that my internet access will be very limited for the next while (I can use the business centre computers = blogging and email but no downloading pics) I am going to show pics slowly!

Here's Nathan's Christmas socks, on my feet:

They aren't baggy on his feet - my feet are shorter and thinner than his, as one might expect!

Yarn: Opal in a tigery colourway (ballband is long since gone in a rubbish bin in Canada somewhere)
Pattern: Coriolis from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Sizing: 72 stitches

(Do you like the glow in the dark legs with Extra Moles?)

DH has tried on only one sock so far - the first one I made had a little whoopsie and is quite tight over the instep, not uncomfortably tight, just not easy to get on. The second one should have a little more room since I remembered to follow the heel instructions :-D

I should see if my FiL can send pictures of his Christmas socks. I have another two and a half pairs of socks to show off yet. And all the pics from SF! Still haven't blogged that trip. That will be on Victorian, on the move. I am hoping to finish another pair of socks before the end of the month - am on the cuff of one sock, that means maybe two nights of knitting.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

I have a new callus

G'day all!

So Excited!

I have a sore spot on the pad tip of my left index/fore finger! It appears to be a new callus from all the sock knitting that has been going on here at Chez Nous. (I'll work out a good name once we have a lease on a place, not this temporary housing.)

You wanna see some sock?

Yarn: Posh Yarn's "Emily" 4ply sock weight 80% lambswool / 10% cashmere / 10% angora yarn. A gift from Dreamcatcher. Yarn is *very* cushy and a little larger than the standard sock yarn. Very bright too :-) Thanks so much, Dreamcatcher!

Pattern: "Dove Socks," using Upstream architecture from Cat Bordhi's New pathways for sock knitters, book 1.

Whirlpool toes, well whirlpool toes of my own devising used. Note that they swirl in opposite directions :-)

(No socks were harmed in taking these photos, though I thought the pool highlighted the aqua/turquoise... No leg hairs were harmed either, hence the marled legs ;-)

I've been trawling through Cat's latest offering and making all sorts of interesting socks. Of course I have not tried any of the baby socks as she suggests, nope I've just leapt off the deep end straight into adult sized socks (including a pair that were 80 stitches around sized for a bloke's foot. Ack).

It's been a busy few days. On Wednesday I went to SF - expect a trip report both here and on Victorian, On the Move in the next while.

On Thursday I rode to work with Nathan along the, ahem, bike path along the Guadalupe River and then caught the light rail to Winchester and rode along the Los Gatos trail until my legs nearly fell off (I then had to ride home again, very difficult with no legs cos my arms are not long enough to reach the pedals and then how do I steer and brake? With my teeth?).

Yesterday I looked at various apartments with a rental assistance person. That was fun but a bit exhausting and I was TOTALLY hyper and wanted to blather at Nathan for hours but he had used up his word limit for the day. So tedious having no friends to blather at here.

Today I have to take Nathan back to some of them and we are going to check out a little house and a duplex as well. Apartments are all very well but we LOVE gardens. Are we willing to give up all the amenities of apartments (amenities that we have basically not used here) for a little house in the burbs where we both can grow stuff?

BTW, we gave up on Mountain View. Most of the places in our price range were pretty shabby and gave me the quibbly inside feeling of "Dear whatever holy things may be out there, please don't make me live in a horrid little box!" We are looking at downtown Campbell and SJ. Yep, we might become city dwellers!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

A warning to drivers in the Bay area

G'day all!

If any locals see a blonde woman gripping the steering wheel too hard in a new burgundy Sentra and randomly using the blinkers and the wipers, that will be me. I'm probably be trying to remember which is right and left, hence the random use of the wiper-washers as I'll be flummoxed and in Australia the indicators are on the other side of the steering wheel. The apparently random use of indicators demonstrates that I don't know where I am going and still can't tell left from right, so there are likely to be shouts of "NO! The OTHER left!" echoing from the car.

I drove around for an hour and a half yesterday trying to find my way around town without a map.

A map is a Really Good Idea.

I still don't have one but we did find the enormous Wholefoods out in Cupertino without a map. And when I got lost, I did eventually find my way home - I had thought that the main roads are mostly a grid system, but I found some "main" roads that didn't fit the grid very well, plus I was 90 degrees out in my directional sense. Stupid directional sense. Plus I had not really been able to see the mountains on the west side of San Jose very well before - it's rained and been misty a LOT. I didn't realise that they were so big!

Hopefully this weekend I will get a photoshoot of all the socks (except one pair that I gifted) that I've knitted over the last few weeks. I want to go into the mountains and to the beach. And find a place to live in either Campbell or Mountain View/Sunnyvale/similar.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

The loneliness of the long distance blogger

G'day all!

Feeling bored and isolated here. Poor widdle me is lonely. Not a very good introvert, am I? Some people would love to spend weeks mostly alone with a pile of spinning fibre and sock yarn but I've had enough of that! I need some social action!

Now people will tell me of all the knitting meetups - that is half the problem! There are about 20 of them, with about half a dozen on Sunday arvos and some more on Thursday evenings. But which is good? Which ones can I get to by PT? I don't want to ride my bike at night on these crazy roads.

I spent yesterday at Mountain View and Los Altos. In doing so I discovered:
a) nice areas. Want to live there. Don't want to live there in a concrete box, which is probably what we can afford. They call them apartments but they are flats. Apartments are nice. Flats are cheap little boxes.
b) nice yarn shops
c) a good Wholefoods and a range of shops that meet my requirements,
d) THREE bookshops all within crawling distance of each other, and
e) I have got to get into the gym if I am to lift my monstrous bike onto the racks in the light rail without busting my hands, arms and shoulders and possibly head (when my arms give way and drop the bike on my head). Lifting a heavy bike over my head is not easy! I thought I had a crippling hand injury for a while yesterday but I think it is only bruised. I can still knit without much problem.

(Today I discovered a LOT of tired muscles. LOL)

Now I am in a dilemma.

Mountain View will cost about $300 more a month for a box to live in than Campbell will. But it is nice. Plus it is on the Caltrain and Nathan has a Caltrain pass. Plus it has better shopping options for me. And it has pretty houses around it. Campbell is cheaper but the shopping isn't so good.

(eeeee! I am watching "How Clean is Your House." This bloke would be better off washing his dishes with his dunny brush than with the sponge in the kitchen! Oh I am feeling queasy!)

So pay up more and hopefully live more easily or pay less and do a bit more work?

I have a shocking tale of sock yarn abuse to relate, but next time. I've got to watch the telly!

PS It keeps looking like this outside:

We've had one nice day in the last week and it is getting a bit boring! 20% chance of rain today - well we were that 20%.

Beware the fearsome sock spider!

You never know where it is lurking!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Been knitting

G'day all!

I am feeling much better than I did last week. The cold is mostly gone, just a bit of a cough and a little snuffle now. Odd question - has anyone else ever had skin that feels sunburned even though I haven't been in the sun? The skin on my back was tender in that fever-burny sorta way at the peak of the cold and it is still sore. I am starting to suspect that maybe the shower, yep the shower in the bathroom, is soooooo powerful here that I burned my skin a little (the water temperature varies rapidly and without warning, usually in the hot direction) and the water pressure coming out of the shower is irritating it along with sitting with my back against chairs, etc. It really stings, particularly when I goosebump!

I've been knitting. I've knitted a LOT! I've finished 3.5 socks since when did I last blog? Friday? Thursday? No, Saturday! Crikey! That is a lot of socks!

Alas, because we have had just one day of nice weather since then, I haven't got a single photo of my pretty new socks. Yesterday was nice so I was out and about a little. I even went for a 2.5 mile walk to the local Safeway. Today - 10 minutes of nice and by the time I organised myself to get out to the pool for a photoshoot, it was dull and raining again.

Rain is great and it is needed but I sooo want to show you my socks! I knitted one in a 24 hour period! Honest! OK, it was only a 56 stitch sock on 2.75mm needles but that was quick quick quick! Hmm, if I blogged on Saturday, that means the other sock was finished in record time cos the pair took a day less than I thought they had.

We survived the Great Storm of 2008 (heck, it's 2008 already? Gadzooks I must be getting old!). The Weather Channel was So Excited to have Weather to report. We noticed a bit of weather - rain, rain, rain and some wind. Some of the trees around here noticed more wind than us. The area is nicely landscaped - a bit boring from this plant nut's POV but nicely landscaped and looks lush and everything that the debonaire urbanite would want. The landscapers transplanted some relatively large trees (say 4m/12'). Large trees plus very little root development plus little support plus wind = non-optimal outcome for the tree.

I admit to a flirtation with cable tv. BBC America is better than home and garden tv, which was my previous love. It shows some naughty naughty bad shows. Like "How Clean is Your House?" and "You are What You Eat." The first one, OMG, the first one. My family thought I was a slack housekeeper but really I am not that bad at all. Of course that is not hard to achieve compared to someone who has not cleaned their house in EIGHT years or another person with three indoor dogs, one of which isn't housetrained, a couple of cats, various rodents (some tame and in cages) and more crud than you can poke a stick at! One of hosts actually touched the inside of a toilet bowl that was black and yellow with lord knows what. Oh, I feel queasy just thinking about it! You are what you eat is a bit easier to deal with. Both are a bit repetitive after a few watchings so the flirtation will end soon enough. Wish I could find a health and fitness channel so I can start doing a little aerobics or something.

Oooh, good news! We will have our bikes tomorrow with any luck. I guess this means I'll need to buy a new pump for the tyres (yes, that is how *we* spell tyres - helps tell it apart from tires, which to us means the process of becoming tired).

Time to stop rambling - it is a bit lonesome here in my eyrie 5 miles north of SJ itself. DH is out of the place for most of the day and then chatting online with friends, catching up on email and reading stuff half the evening. There are shops a bit over a mile away and a gawdforsaken mall 5 or so tram stops away but so far I haven't managed to find nice places to be that are close to home. I've been to one yarn shop (Commuknitty, where I bought some yarn I can't get a good picture of) and that was good but it is a fair PT ride and walk away. We live in a "community" but as far as I can tell everyone here is scared of everyone else - the amount of interaction is minimal. A nod, a smile, a hello if you are lucky from the person walking their dog outside on the street. Sorta sad.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Typhoid Mary

G'day all!

I dunno if I should be called Typhoid Mary or Typhoon Mary.

We had two glorious days when we got here(see in the pic of our area? The whole area is like this - a gazillion condos that are all alike. I kid you not when I say that "you are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike!" Nathan keeps getting lost and it took me a couple of days to work it all out)

one average day and today?

Rain rain rain! Rain ALL DAY!

The Weather Channel is So Excited about it. Los Angeles is terrified as Stuff is Expected to Fall from the Sky! SF is being blown away by the storm front combined with a jet stream. We are just plain soggy here, but at least our condo is on the second floor so we shouldn't be flooded out. (Plus they have fixed our bath overflow we think as there are new screws on the underbath facing, so downstairs is less likely to be flooded, at least by us!)

Plus I have The Plague. DH has a rotten virus, which we think he got from his dad, and he has passed it to me. I've spent the day knitting and blogging and editing pictures, in between snuffling, snorting, coughing, choking and feeling like I've been wrassling with a bear. And watching waaaaay too much cable tv. My brain is totally melted. (I love BBC America. I got to watch people with *absolutely* filthy houses, like YUCK, how can they live like that?, and I got to watch You Are What You Eat. I am almost inspired to dig out our book once we have all our stuff and read it again and do the diet, umm eating plan.) I would show off the knitting if I could but it is so dull here that I've had to have the lights on all day long! Plus one sock should be past the heel I've ripped it back so many times! The yarn is thicker than normal so the sock needs to have fewer stitches than normal but my poor frazzled brain would not accepth that! no, must have 64 stitches, not 54!

This too shall pass, both the cold and the frazzled brain. I hope the tissues hold out! Then I'll be able to go for another walk to the local(ish) Safeway (a mile away) and admire these:

gum trees. Oh be still my beating, homesick heart! Having gum trees will make things here better - they carry me however many thousand km back over the Pacific. Bliss!

On a different note, I've started posting lots of pics on Coloradoan Dreaming. Be warned that there are MANY pictures! Many lots!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

2007, the year in review

G'day all!

Before we get on with 2008, I thought I would have a look back at 2007.

What a crazy, tumultuous year!

It started off with me with no job. That was a continuing theme.

In Feb, Nathan flew to the US to interview with a very large, Mountain View based company. He didn't want that job but did have a very nice Valentine's Dinner without me.

In March, we flew to the US for Nathan to "interview" for another job. He already had the job, it was really just to sell Fort Collins, CO, to us.

Over April and May I panicked a LOT. Moving to another country is a major challenge. Plus we had just started pulling the bathroom apart.

In June, we got our visas for Nathan's new job in Colorado. On June 23 we flew to a New World.

In July, Nathan spazzed a lot whilst I rode around Fort Collins a lot and fell in love with this hot, pretty place.

In August, Nathan settled, as did I, and went to a conference.

In September, after only three months, rumours started that the New Job was about to disappear! Oh no! But after the conference, another company was headhunting DH.

In October, we had not quite confirmation of the job drying up. Fort Collins was starting to get some quite cold days. Nathan accepted the new job.

In November, Nathan was marched out the door of the old job. We decided to get Amtrak passes and travelled around parts of eastern USA. We started to discover how cold it can get. Subzero (Celsius) temps! Ack! Cold! But nowhere near as cold as it can get....

In December, we went to Canada to get visas for the new job. At this point I must say that I really liked Canada, even the bits that aren't full of Canadians. We spent Christmas with friends and family. It was grand. Then we travelled to San Jose and saw SUN!

Finished knitted items

This was another year of the knitted accessory. I made a lot of socks and winter woollies, but not many full on articles of clothing.

Cat blankets - 1
Scarves - 6
Hats - at least 5
Mitts - 4 pairs (pairs! me make a PAIR of ANYTHING?)
Neck gaiters - 2
Toys - 1 kitty, 1 teddy bear
Dishcloths - 4
Baby clothes - one dress, one bonnet, one set of booties, two cardies
Jumpers - one for DH, one pinwheel for me
Socks - 5 PAIRS!, at least 11 singletons, ie at least 21 socks!

UFOs - hmm, about 10. Some are totally stalled, some are only stalled as they are in storage whilst we find a new place to live.

On places to live

Speaking of places to live, we've been told being on the Caltrain line would be best for us. DH has a Caltrain pass. Anyone have any suggestions as to nice, relatively cheap places near the Caltrain that are also close to natural food stores (I need gluten free and dairy free food, plus we don't want to buy, for example, grain fed beef)? We are heretics and do not have a car, so we are reliant on public transport and bicycle (when we get the bikes out of storage). It would also be good if there was a nice range of shops nearby, ones with clothes and housewares and a pharmacy, etc. So far I've noticed that I have to wander far and wide to get a range of places, which is mildly peeving when it is half an hour on foot there and 3/4 of an hour on the way back simply cos you now have to lug a heavy load of stuff.

Our location requirements:

  • easy transport (caltrain/light rail/walk/ride) to central San Jose
  • nearby natural food shop(s) (preferably within a mile or so)
  • nearby pharmacy and other shops

You may note that I have not listed easy transport to yarn stores! What is wrong with me? Am I ill? (DH has a rotten virus, so I may well be ill.) Well given that yarn does not weigh a lot whilst shopping does, and we don't have a car, I would prefer to ride 5 miles to a yarn shop to lug back two skeins of yarn than ride five miles to a supermarket and bring back 20 kilos of food....

OK, enough of this blog! I have to update Colorado Dreaming, and change its name too - I need a new name for my travels blog! Possibly I should call it "Do You Know the Way to SJ?" Any suggestions? My pathetically small punning neuron got all punned out at Christmas.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Today's Dumb Question 1/1/8

G'day all!

If you move into an apartment, would you expect the overflow on the bathtub to be hooked up to the drain or would you expect it to flood the apartment below yours? Is it reasonable to expect any drain-like things to act as drains or should such devices flood the downstairs apartment?

Enquiring minds would like to know 8-)