Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or treat!

G'day all!

Happy Halloween, or more likely when you read this, All Saints Day.

I gave out chocolate!  We had trick or treaters!  Alas before the rest of them showed up we went to a neighbour's and joined their Halloween party for a while.

I dressed up a bit - I put on wings and my weird new hooded tunic and played with some black and silver eyeshadows.  I did a bit of face sculpting and greyed my skin up, and I think I looked suitably ghastly with razor sharp cheekbones!

Anyway, umm, what else happened today?

I love this dahlia - it's months since I took this years
photo of it and it is still flowering away

It rained a lot this morning.  We had well over an inch yesterday and then this morning, after I emptied the rain gauge, we had nearly another centimetre.  But this afternoon I managed to stand in the sun for a whole five minutes!  Yay!

They call me helmet head

Blue sky!  A miracle!

Oh yes, my day started off with my four year cancer check up.  It is nearly five years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer but because of the way they count survivorship (the date of the operation) I'm still only at four years (and nearly three months).  My oncologist here is still amazed at the level of chemo I was given (ie a very high dose) but as she says, I'm still here so that is good!  She has no idea what is going on with my voice stuff - it still persists a bit.  It is not as bad as it was a year ago but I'm not perfect by any means.  Anyway, going and getting the tests done is always a bit nerve-wracking (weirdest blood pressure ever today - 128 over 64!  Normally both are up if one is up but nope, I just had high pulse pressure today.  And generally my blood pressure has been around 110/70 for ages.  It used to be 120/80 until I did chemo... I guess I finally got (mostly) used to seeing doctors).  I don't know whether they realise that one way I cope with being nervous is I start cracking the funnies.  I'm terrible at telling jokes but I'm good at making people chuckle.

The view from the third floor.

Anyway, the blood tests came back with their usual anomalies (slightly low potassium and one other wonk).  The only cancer marker available an hour after the blood draw came back well within normal range.

This echinacea doesn't realise it is fall.

Sitting and waiting gave me plenty of time to finish another Entrechat.  I now need to knit another one of the little cardies I made last month so that I have matching sets of little cardies and baby boleros so that noone feels they missed out!

(There should be pics of the finished boleros here but google won't let me see the pics.  It hasn't bothered with the whole uploading thing.)

So that is good - I get to annoy you for some time yet!

Look, more blue sky than cloud!
It poured rain about an hour later, never fear.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

A very boring day where nothing much happened

G'day all!

Today was a very dull and boring day.  The weather was intensely bland - we got another load of rain, drip drip drip, grey skies all day long.  I didn't go for a walk - see rain.  I did do my rehab exercises and felt very virtuous afterwards.  The weather forecast isn't exactly grand either - rain tomorrow, probably not raining on Saturday, rain on Sunday, Monday (my birthday), Tuesday...  you get the idea!  Welcome to autumn in Seattle.

So, seriously people, don't come and visit in late October or any time in November unless you like grey skies and rain.  Cos you surely will get a lot of them!

If you were a baby cardigan, which button would you like on you?  Ducky?  Yellow flower or white flower?  I haven't bothered trying to find matching colours - the blue ones are all tractors, the purple/mauve ones are all disgusting ucky colours so I decided contrast was good!

Choices, choices....

A friend invited us out to dinner tonight.  We went to what turns out to be what I'll call a Korean fusion restaurant.  I'm calling it Korean because kimchi turned up on the menu in different forms.

It turns out that Korean fusion food as created by this restaurant relies a lot on both dairy and gluten.  There were only two items on the menu that were gluten and dairy free (including if the sauce was left off), and one of those items was tuna (which gives me the runs something terrible).  And I didn't feel virtuous enough to eat kale, winter squash and something else with no mole sauce (dairy) on a mung bean pancake.

So I sat and watched other people eat.

Then I came home to a nice bit of salmon and some chippies and carrots and broccoli.  I enjoyed that!

Actually robin's egg blue not green at all

I am happily knitting another Entrechat.  Dianne said I would not stop at one and she was correct!  I am wondering if I should make a bigger one for say a 15mo not just the 3-6mo ones I'm making currently.  The current ones may be too big for their intended recipients but I've noticed babies tend to grow.  Even little babies get bigger.  I also have to finish the blanket, again, and my cardigan, again.  Finishing stuff again is a PITA.  I just want to do things once, not fix them again!

Proof that there are two!  Colour is too yellow.

Which is why I got grumpy about having to do DH's tax return.   I've already had to wrangle the tax system once for me, and having to do it again was peeving!  Topping it off, he earned nothing in Australia (after deductions) so I wasn't sure that it even needed to be done, but better safe than sorry.

And I thought the longer, pointier egg would be a double yolker but nope, just a regular single yolker.  I guess I got a double yolker last week.  I sorta feel sorry for the chooks that squeeze out the big eggs, especially when the egg is clearly a bit constricted around the middle, like it got stuck part way.  I have sympathy for that plight!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oh so close

G'day all!

Ever get that feeling of everything being oh so close, being almost there but knowing that you still have to put in more effort before you get something completed?

Yep, I'm living it.

Ah Ballard - palm tree and claret ash.
Claret ashes arose in Australia!

After I finished fixing all the bits I could see to fix in the current training module I'm creating and said it is ready for first level testing, I went out to the garage and did a bit more priming.  I thought we were past priming but we've used this stuff called oriented strand board, or OSB, for the walls and ceiling of the garage.  OSB is like enormous particle board - instead of tiny pieces, it has up to hand-sized flat pieces that go every which way.  Think paper but with large flat pieces and paper that is half an inch/13mm thick (or more).  Some of the wood used is oily and this is causing a problem.   Even after about four layers of plaster/spackle goop, primer and ceiling white, some of the oil is coming through from the OSB and making brown marks in the white expanses of walls and ceiling.

So today I hauled out the big gun - some shellac-based primer.  Goodness it whiffs.  It is sorta fruity, DH says like metho, but it is fruitier than that.  Anyway I put the chemical respirator on cos I don't need more loopiness from breathing fumes.  I'm loopy enough as it is!

This primer is very very runny.  Didn't take me long to work that out when pouring it from the tin and then watching dribbles run down the wall from the roller and splatters from it as I did the ceiling, but even being careful I didn't realise that it was spraying little tiny droplets off right over DH's parka (that shouldn'tve been in the garage anyway).

Now he has a black parka with the most fetching tiny little polka dots on the hood.

And with any luck, the OSB won't stain through this stuff - online sources say to use it to stop bleed through from OSB - and we'll be able to run more ceiling white over it to make everything white white again.

We don't really want white white but DH wants to play with using LED lights to change the colour of the walls and ceiling, so white is a pretty convenient colour to use.

I'm knitting another Entrechat.  Pics when more of it is done.

I'll be glad when both of my modules are through testing and up on the website, ready to sell.  Hopefully some groups will buy them!  And I'll be even gladder when the garage is done.  It is limping towards completion.  If the shellac-based primer works then we can finish the inside completely.  It only needs the paint and the wall board attached, then the trim around the door and windows, plus one cover thing put on the light switches.  One of the windows needs to be put in correctly - it is only in as a temporary fix and currently lets water into the building in a really bad way.   The outside needs the shingling finished and the trim, plus the gutters, then a new coat of paint.

The garage will be a work in progress for a while yet - DH has grand plans for it - but we need to get the electrical and building inspections done so it is all signed off and legal.  Then he can play, build shelves, experiment with ventilation ideas, etc.  We just have to focus on getting it done so he can play!

After the rain, the calm.  A good start to the day!

And when he has space to play, I will have space to play too!  Yay!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

And then the grey

G'day all!

One thing about grey days - today I sat down and put in a decent chunk of time on my work.  Admittedly, I spent double the hours fixing things up that I expected I would take, but some of the stuff I was fixing is not exactly cooperative, or at least the program I'm using isn't.  Plus I'm using an older version of the program and it doesn't work the same way that the current one does and the fixes that worked on the newer version don't work as well on the old version.

All very mysterious.  It will be fixed eventually, just not as soon as I would like it to be.

Capitol Hill got a bit of sun late in the day

So today was grey.  Gray, as can be expected when the sad and tattered remnants of a cyclone pass by.  Winds were negligible, but the rain sure hung around for long enough (and we got 14 mm) and the grey for longer.   The clouds were moving along at a good pace though and we started to see a bit of blue sky by the end of the day.

In between cussing out the program that was driving me bonkers, again, I got some sweet baby knitting done.  May I present Entrechat

Two strands of Bendi baby yarn held together

Colour is somewhere between these two shots
 minus its button.  I have an extensive range of buttons and none of them are quite right.  I think it needs a yellow daisy button and I've got one but it is too small and the wrong shape.  What a shame, I need to go find more buttons.  Woe is me.

Texture band, colour is still too pale, not yellow enough

I really like the texture band and whilst the ruffle looks dorky sitting on a laptop case, it looks really cute on babies, so hopefully it will look cute on its recipient, when I work out who that recipient is!

I think I'll make another one in a light, bright aqua yarn that I have.  Then I can send one to each of the babies I know.  It only took two days to knit up, and one of those days I did heaps of work too.

Offering a ray of hope

I'd better enjoy Wednesday, they are forecasting another inch of rain for Thursday, and then rain, rain, rain, rain and a bit more rain for the rest of the forecast period (seven days).  Rain for my birthday, as usual.  At least I know not to go back to the dreadful place we went last year - they burnt my dinner in reheating it (it wasn't even cooked from scratch), half of it was inedible and then ignored my complaints completely.  And it was my birthday dinner!  Grump.

I also have to work out a Halloween costume.  We've been invited to a neighbour's place for Halloween - they do it there rather than having the kids trawl up and down the street.  Will have to see if I've got any good Goth gear left and make me into a vampire or something.  I might need a wig cos I'm not dying my hair.  DH?  Hmm, he will probably go in tie dye, but that is normal for him.


Monday, October 27, 2014

A small change of plans

G'day all!

So this morning I swatched (me, swatching!) the lovely pansy golightly colourway of my wonderfully squishy Dream in Color Smooshy and I looked at it and I looked, and...

So pretty in the ball

I'm making the baby bolero in some light green Bendigo Woollen Mills baby yarn instead.

Still cute!  Probably will go with more stuff too
than a purple and grey one.

Since this morning I've knitted only that much.  I'm not used to knitting to gauge either - it feels so thick and squishy!  I'm using two strands to make the weight up.  It is a quick knit but I feel slow, possibly because I've been doing things other than knitting today, like going for walks, doing laundry, spinning some yarn, helping DH with the garage, dealing with my Oz taxes - oh bob did that take a long time!

I walked up to see the Olympics.
Alas the clouds were low

I use the ATO's e-tax to do my taxes.  It is easy-ish and it gives you hints along the way.  It just needs a Windows box, which thankfully my workplace provides (this year they have a Mac version as well).  Taxes are due at the end of October.  This year the ATO have decided that to pre-fill your tax return, you must create a MyGov account.

Wrong time of year, doood!

Blah, bah humbug, jeebers another stupid login and password, and quite frankly I don't trust the Oz government to be able to keep my tax (and social security and other govt service) details secure from hackers and crackers.  Having a one stop shop seems like an invitation to have my info given away to the highest bidder.

Clematis, don't flower now!

Anyway, when I set up the basics of the mygov account, it kept throwing me back to the same page and making me start again.  Also the ATO's home page was not displaying anything useful but the site seemed to be working if you searched online for specific pages.

Fall is falling

I finally made my profile and... the site told me it was down.  I had already worked out that it was very sick.  It even gave me a chirpy little message saying they were working as fast as they could to get it back online.  It didn't sound very government at all.

Lots of falling

So even though it took me about four hours, I finally got my quite basic tax return done.


Lovely claret ash

Now I have to do DH's.  Sigh.  Go through the whole thing again just to tell them that he earned nothing in Oz.

Clouds early cleared and then returned with a vengeance

It turned out to be a lovely day today.  I walked around in a tshirt (and pants!  LOL).  I don't know how the people wearing heavy coats could stand it.  I would've died of heat exhaustion.  It probably only got to 15C but with the sun out and away from the wind and me walking as briskly as I can up a long hill, it was very pleasant.

Tomorrow?  Rain.  We are getting the tail end of a cyclone.  The winds shouldn't be bad, we just get the rain rain rain.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dilly dally Sunday

G'day all!

Today was a pretty quiet sorta Sunday - off to the market, get the farm fresh eggs that we like so much (supermarket eggs just do not compare), pick up a pile of autumn fruit and veg (cauliflowers are in!  Apples are in!  Pumpkins are in!), putter back home, clean out one of the vegie bins in the fridge.

DH fixed up the roof around the new skylight today - we've had a small bucket under a leak.  With any luck, we won't have a leak now that there is roofing material right up to and around the skylight along with the flashing...  The flashing might be great but it doesn't work so well if the rain is falling straight on the non-watertight under-roof structure (Americans make complicated roofs.  We just whack up enough substrate to hold up the tiles or sheet metal, but American roofs have to have layers of strand board, then membrane (generally), tar paper and finally the roof-stuff itself, asphalt shingles).

Pretty cool car, dunno what it is.
I am sure someone will enlighten me.

A quick (ha!) run to Lowe's, where I was lucky not to come home with two really cheap apple trees - we escaped only because I could not figure out how to get them in my car.  There are advantages to little cars you know and not bringing home big stuff is one of them!  Still I came home with a gallon/4L of a lovely green mistint for five bucks.  I'm quite tempted to whack it up in the hall way and the entrance area of the house.

And then Ballard market, where DH and I had a fight over me waiting for a car park rather than just driving up the end where 40 seconds before there had been lots of car parks.  I thought I had a good close park, a woman had gotten in her car, her kid was strapped in, and then she dug around in the passenger footwell and the kid decided to sit on the other side of the car and then she did her makeup and her hair....  And DH is crabbing at me for waiting so I drive up to discover that the many empty spots had disappeared.

Some hydrangeas have not gotten with the program.
It's time to go to sleep, not flower!

It seems everyone went shopping at the same time as us.  The car park holds at least a hundred cars and suddenly we were all competing for spots.

Of course as soon as I got the car installed in a spot at the top end of the lot, three close spots opened up, including that of the woman I had been waiting for.

It was rather blowy last night, though not as exciting as the thunderstorm in Melbourne.  It was still pretty blowy this morning, when DH was up on the roof fixing the shingles.  It had calmed a lot by this evening, and the best part of it being windy?

All the red leaves got blown away.

We saw the sun!  We got lots of sun today ;-)  I like it when we have what I call weather - we might get some sprinkles but you can be sure that they will move on rather than hanging around all day.  I'm not too good with dreary weather.

Sorta blurry and not quite right in colour but good enough

I am going to start a new knit.  My cardie is in a time out, probably not for long, just for long enough that I get some enthusiasm back on it.  I've bought a copy of Entrechat (ravelry link, hope it is open to the public, and if it isn't, it is a cute little baby/toddler bolero) and will knit it up in some Dream in Color Classy in Pansy Golightly.   I've had the yarn in stash for ages, I've been meaning to use it with another colourway (Lunar Zazzle) but it hasn't happened so far so I'll bite the bullet and use it to make a baby top.  Only the best yarns for my peeps!  I won't knit with acrylic - I don't enjoy it - so I have to use washable wool or cotton.  I could get some Cascade 220 but I've got yarn in stash that is crying to be used so why not use it?  I have beautiful yarn and it needs to be used, and with any luck the receivers of said yarn-knitted-into-things will look after it.  And if they don't, well I will probably never ever know.

This was a hint that I was slow to take on board.

And what happens sometimes when we have sun and clouds?

But dinner was in the oven and the cold shopping
put away

We get a pretty-ish sunset!

Odd how sunset now looks cold.  It wasn't that cold.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blown away

G'day all!

I'm doing pretty well with this blogging every day for Blogtober.  I've missed a couple since I started nearly 20 days ago but I did travel and sometimes it catches up with me.

It's actually been amazingly difficult getting my feet back on the ground after the New York trip.  I've had no energy for days.  Manhattan is high energy, lots of over-stimulation, lots of noise and visuals and I don't always respond well to that.  I like my slower pace here in Seattle.  I actually do pretty well with the over-stimulation for a while but it does wear me out.

Of course since I got back, the weather has been mostly foul.  We've had quite a bit of rain and some weather that's gone from dreadful to pleasant and then back to pretty dreadful again.  Not having sun in the morning makes a huge difference to waking up - when it is grey grey grey, unrelentingly grey and drizzly, it takes a lot more effort to get going.

We had half an hour of sun today!
Wish it had lasted longer.

Anyway, tonight is an exciting night.  It is pretty blowy outside.  An intense low pressure system is making its way over us and I can hear it is trying to blow the house down.  It will take a bit more that some strong winds to take out this place!

Today I went over to the Best of the Northwest, an "art" show that is really high end arts and crafts.  I knew that Nicole Flood of Flood Clothing would be there.  She makes all sorts of stuff that I really like wearing.

And as always I came home with a couple more items to wear.  I almost came home with some other things as well (from other places) but managed to restrain myself, mostly due to fit issues.  My poor budget is shot to pieces so it's just as well.

I can't even get decent pictures of the new dresses/tunics.  It is just horrendously dull here and I don't like the shots the phone takes with its flash.

The splash of light was pretty cool

Oddly enough, though I found some lovely things there, I came home feeling flat.  Maybe it is the dull weather.  Maybe it is the creativity at the place.  I just came home feeling very boring and dull.  Now I know that that is not necessarily true and I'm not jealous of these people who have found their passion(s) - I have plenty of things in my life, I just want to break out and do something ... else....  I get restless in dull weather, seeking sensation, seeking light and warmth.  I got like this last year too.  I keep reminding myself that it is only two months to Christmas (EEP!) and then the days will start getting longer, though the weather gets more foul, and the in laws will be here for Christmas and it will be excellent.  I have plenty to look forward to, I just have a restlessness inside.

I might have to treat it by doing all the things I've been avoiding, like house work.  I also have to source new tubs for things that are going on the shelves in the garage.  DH was sorta planning to use cardboard boxes but they aren't very useful for seeing into.  His way of dealing with that is to take a picture of the things in the box and print it but that isn't really workable either - every time something is taken out of the box, you need a new pic and that is not cost effective.   I want to see into the box without opening it.

Also can I just have a moment to rant.  Yes the weather is not great but it isn't bucketing down on the roads, so why oh why do people have to do 20 mile an hour in t'middle of t'road when they are in a 30 or 35 zone?  (If you translate that to kmh, you will be shocked by how slow it is - 20 mph is about 30 kmh)  Why do they have to brake at each corner?  Is this the corner I want?  Or this?  Or this?  Or this?  Or this?  They don't find the corner until they drive past it and jam on the brakes.  But hooray, they were only doing 15 mph so everything is good!  I'd call them Los Angelinos except I think even they deal with a bit of rain with more aplomb.

And I pulled the sleeve of the cardigan out again.  It was too big!  LOL  Topping it off nicely, the knitting looked very uneven cos I was recycling the yarn that had made the previous version.  Recycled yarn tends to be bumpy and lumpy.  Anyway, now I am almost bored enough with the thing to put it in a time out.  I wanna make something else, something fast on bigger needles, something to get my mojo back with.  Or something small but quick.  I am all about results and I'm not getting results from my current knitting.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Aw crap!

G'day all!

So I'm knitting away on my cardigan.  Knitting knitting knitting.

Hmm, that's odd.

The needles I'm using are ... 0.5mm narrower in diameter than they should be.

Aw dangit!  I've been using the needles for the ribbing on the whole sleeve.  On both whole sleeves.

Confused rhodo.  Wrong season, dude!

Just as well that I'd only gotten about 8 rows into the new sleeve then.

Rip it back again and start with the right size needle.

Golden grove

Now the other sleeve is a full inch less in circumference.  It is the sleeve that can be snugger fitting without a problem.  Hmm.  Do I leave it or do I rip it back too?  The problem there is since the colour blocks are 20 rows each, I broke the colour off at each colour change.  With the thicker needles, I won't have enough yarn to complete the 20 rounds.

Are these birds cosmopolitan?  Yes, but this pair
might be the American species, not the Eurasian

(Can you believe I just had to do a logic check there?  And it is correct - I still have to do 20 rounds of X stitches, and the larger the diameter needles, the more yarn I'll need.  If I had to do 5cm of knitting on X stitches, I might only need about the same amount of yarn because 5cm may equal only be 15 rounds of X stitches on the bigger needles rather than 20 rounds of X stitches on the smaller needles.  The number of rows per centimetre varies depending on the needle size and the yarn.)

Red red leaves, plus some yellow

Anyway, it is amazing what a few moments of inattention can do, the cascading problems that arise from one simple mistake: I did not pick up the correct needle.

That's more like it!  Green lake!

Thank heavens it is only knitting, not something that cannot be undone,  cannot be changed.  If only all of life were like that, except I would never get past certain points, always going back and undoing and trying to just get it right this time, stuck in my own groundhog day.  Some things cannot be mended, but I can go back and fix my knitting, if I want to.  It isn't always worth it.  Some things in life are not always worth it either.

Serene not very green Green Lake

So it was not the designer's fault that the sleeves were snug, it was mine for using the wrong size needles.  Sigh.

Birches, again

Weather is still pretty average.  I have to be ready tomorrow with the emergency food and lighting as a deep low is rumbling up the coast and we are promised 30-40mph winds later in the day.  As soon as it gets windy around here, the power goes out.  We've been lucky so far but it can't last and having at least a source of light would be a very good idea.  As for cooking?  I guess we'll starve cos we have electric stove!  But we'll have hot water.

Rushes and sun

I did a little, very little, walk at Green Lake today.  It wasn't so much green (mostly) as silver, reflecting the clouds.

Silver lake.