Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Body blow

No g'day today! It is NOT a good day.

Nathan's boss told him today that all travel has been suspended due to the US recession. This means that Nathan will still be going to the conference in Brazil (where he will present a paper = very important) but he won't be going to Oz or NZ to develop business relationships.

This means I won't be going home either. I can't leave Nathan by himself for weeks.

I am soooooooooo disappointed. I've been looking forward to the trip for months. Now I feel like I've been jilted and in a big way. Maybe gutted is a better way to describe it, though it isn't my gut that hurts.

Sigh.

At the same time as all I want to do is curl up and whimper in a corner, I have to get the old apartment clean. I am not enjoying the new apartment. It is darker than I expected (three weeping birches and a pine tree contribute to that) and not as airy and light as I hoped. It is also telling me I have Too Much Stuff. The kitchen is roomier but oddly has less room to put stuff - it has old style cupboards that are shallow and just deep enough for a dinner plate, and it is telling me that I have Too Many Bowls, Glasses, Mugs, Oven Trays and Crockery of Various Descriptions. It does have two cavernous cupboards under the corners of the counter but to get to the back of them, you need to go spelunking and might never be seen again. They need a lazy susan thing in them - one of those wheely shelf contraptions so you can access the back of the shelf easily. And the bedroom cupboards don't have shelving in them - obviously I am meant to hang up all the tshirts we have. Who hangs up tshirts? They get folded and put on a shelf. I'd go and get some shelving (with the pushbike and trailer) but I have to get next door clean from stem to stern first, and now my heart is not in it.

So I am surrounded by boxes in one place, boxes which haven't got homes, and mess in the other (I am not very organised and I have Too Much Stuff, even though I am trying to follow the Crazy Aunt Purl school of collecting Stuff - yarn and fleece is my current indulgence).

Knitting? You want pics of the things I've done and made? Wellllll, I've been busy moving and cleaning and sorting and ahem "tidying." I've been making great strides on two items, another shop sample and the bamboo top for me. I might even be finished the bamboo top before summer is out!

I am thinking of going to the sewing machine repair place and also the local quilt place to see if they have any sewing machines for sale. I want to make gauzy curtains for this place (it's koitains for you!) so that the blinds don't block the light so much but we retain some degree of privacy. The front looks out at all the other apartments and the back at the next lot of condos' laundry area. I could go to Jo-ann's but they ripped me off last I was there and I got reaalllly cranky with them. They won't get any more of my (husband's) money than I absolutely have to give them. I'd prefer a local business got my money.

Oh, kudos to AT&T. Yes, they had a terrible rep 10 years ago but they seem to really have pulled their finger out and decided that customer service is a major part of their raison d'etre. We rang them up to get our phone and cable swapped over. Guess what? They actually did it on the day appointed and everything worked! I was quite frankly surprised.

2pm. I'd better pull my finger out and go finish cleaning either the bathroom or the kitchen, and move another load back here. I've only got about six loads to do, I hope. I also hope the piano people can come and get rid of it ASAP - it is going back to the rental place. It has to be out in two days. Nathan is hoping a nicely weighted keyboard will be able to replace it. I guess we will have more money if I don't fly home but jeez I'd prefer to go home. I miss it.

anon!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pluck a flaming duck!

U-haul won't rent me a truck. I don't have a US driver's licence.

Pluck a duck! What do we do now? How on earth do we move our crap now? The bike trailer is far too small for the armchairs, the bed and the pedal organ (harmonium). I can't carry the boxes of books at all easily.... We only have to go to the apartment block next door.

ARGH!

Penske will rent us a truck. A 50 minute cross town ride and we have a GINORMOUS truck, much too big for us...

So the grand move to nextdoor continues!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Finito!

G'day all!

I am so proud of myself! I finished TWO items on one day! (That was yesterday.) But in my usual dumbo way, I forgot to take pics. One is the shop model of a Nashua Handknits top - verra pretty, if yellow, and the other is a little top down (almost) all continental knitted bolero in Wick by K1C2.

So pics will have to wait, for tomorrow we move! If any locals just love lugging stuff to a U-Haul truck, I know someone who would love the help, LOL. Our new apartment is a one bedroom, so any visitors will have to put up with either sleeping on a (very comfy according to my MiL) airbed in the loungeroom or going to the local motels (2 within 5 minutes walk). I think we will need some extra shelving cos the wardrobes only have one shelf and the clothes hanger pole, plus we have one less cupboard = where do I put the linen and towels? (Isn't it funny how we say linen when none of us have slept on linen sheet ever? Its all cotton, poly cotton (ICK!), even bamboo and stuff now.)

Time to go pack some more boxes. This is the umm, fifth time we have moved in the last 13 months. You would think I'd have a good handle on it by now. But I haven't. You also wouldn't think we are moving from the appearance of the loungeroom - it is its usual mess. Other places are messy too but that is because they are accumulating boxes and packing material in various states of preparedness (a neighbour moved in six weeks ago and we got most of his boxes and packing materials - we have more bubble wrap that I've ever seen in my life! There's whole weeks or even months of popping fun!! (oops, first typed pooping fun but that is a whole different thang...)

anon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tanked

G'day all!

Well not such a good day. I regularly move money home to pay the mortgage. Look what happened with the most recent transfer:

Transaction Amount
Receiving: 996.93 Australian Dollars
Sending: 1000.00 US Dollars
Service Fee: 4.99 US Dollars

Holy cow!!

This is SO not good news for us! We moved here when one Oz dollar bought USD0.85 (85 US cents). Now? They are on par! Dangit. I'll have to pull my finger out and find a real job. (Must send resume to recruiter at DH's work...)

Thanks for the commiserations! Yep with any luck I'll be winging my way home for a visit. Of course now that I've announced it, it won't happen. We'll see!

Still knitting this shop sample. It is taking FOREVER! I only have 15cm of the fronts to go (plus the neck band and the front bands) but I seem to be in that no man's land of knitting frantically and not making much progress (even though I can see I have made progress cos I cast off the armpits this morning). There is a lot of ribbing, lace and the odd "cable" and then the front shoulders don't have enough stitches to do the pattern all the way across. It is sucking all my knitting time. No I don't have *that* much knitting time cos we are moving on Friday (ack! Eeek! Must pack more stuff and clean more here!). We are moving next door. LOL The most annoying part of going next door is that we will still need a U-Haul to get stuff there - I can't put large stuff in the bike trailer.

Must keep wriggling. And must set up new renter's insurance and the new gas/power account.

anon!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mr Brain has left the building

G'day all!

Yes, it is true, Mr Brain has left the building. I've managed to burn dinner black two nights in a row whilst being distracted with knitting and web browsing. I've been feeling a little discombobulated since the in-laws left on Friday arvo. I think I could even say I feel sad! It was very odd (and crowded) to have people sharing our space but it was nice too, cos I had someone to talk to, and someone other than Nathan talking at me (though quite often Nathan doesn't talk much to me because he talked himself out of verbal words at work and has nothing left in the tank). I think it means that I am lonely.

Funny, isn't it, being surrounded by people - there's about 20 people within 20m of where I am sitting at the moment - yet being lonely because those people aren't known to you. In another month and a bit, Nathan is flying off to Oz on business, then NZ and then to Sao Paolo in Brazil, and returning to SJ (hopefully with a stop off at a very intriguing place). He'll be away for three weeks or so. If I was Back 'Ome, those three weeks would be fine. I could putter in the garden, play with the cats, visit friends, I'd be working, I'd have various forms of entertainment. But I am not Back 'Ome and I don't have the numerous happy diversions available to me. I could go sit in my LYS for half the day. I could spin a lot of yarn. I could dye more yarn. I could find out where the pivcs of the yarn I dyed and left in Oz are and get them online but given that my friends don't know who has which yarn... I could go ride the light rail around the place. I could even take the train to SF and go ride around on the cable cars again (FUN!). Then at the end of the day I could go home, eat leftovers and hope that Nathan gets online during my evening so that I am not totally by myself.

So if Nathan's trip comes through, I am travelling as well. Guess where I want most to go?

Hmm, better go make sure dinner is not going black again.

anon!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My weekend

G'day all!

Another quickie (lucky you!) before we choof off to SF tomorrow.

Locals will be able to guess where we went from the pics, but any other takers?

We saw many pretties:
ma_weedy

ma_redblue

ma_enemies

ma_jellycakes

ma_justfriends

ma_kelptank

ma_surrey
We pedalled a surrey with a fringe on the top! It is hard work - the pedals are too close and we had a heavy load on board.

We drove along the coast and saw more pretties

ma_shags
(Sitting like a shag on a rock - oh gosh, they are! Someone will now tell me that they are cormorants but close enough!)

and

ma_lonely
a very lonely tree - I don't know what it did to deserve sitting on its own rock...

I got lots of knitting done whilst people ate or whilst waiting for meals. I was very pleased :-) I got to drive lots too, less pleased cos it was in traffic and I had to keep finding car parks with a car whose size was undefinably large. That is the problem with driving different cars - you never really get to know just one. This was a Dodge Charger. It was very drony - apparently that sounds good but I thought it sounded winded - like it needed to breathe more easily or something. At least it didn't lock my mother in law in the back unless we hit the unlock button... (child locks were off but the previous car just didn't want to let anyone out!).

anon!

My new favourite thing

G'day all!

Lookie what my MiL brought me all the way from Oz!

Isn't it smart? And it fits my Little Gem (II) spinning wheel in it so it is now mobile! Hooray!

shopping_cart

:-)

I started a New Project on the weekend. I likee it a lot :-) It is just going to be a tank top.

new_project0708


anon!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Urgle thunk!

G'day all!

It's been hot here this week. Today is not quite as hot but is humid instead. OK, 41% humidity is not humid to lots of people but when you are tooling around on a bike, believe me it is plenty enough to make you drip sweat. Not that I sweat of course, being a lady and all and not a horse, but gosh I glow an AWFUL lot!

I thought with my MiL away, I would catch up a bit. Umm nope! It's been Too Hot to do much housework. It's been Too Hot to get out and about much. I thought I would take advantage of my LYS' air con but I couldn't be bothered getting there even on the bike! I have done most of the back of the shop cardi now but I fear I will run out of yarn 2/3 way up the fronts. It all measures to the right size (it's slightly small but when blocked will be right!) so why am I using more yarn than they reckon?

cardi_back

It is pretty but not my colours. The colourway is called wattle though so that sorta makes up for it ("This 'ere's the waddle, symbol of our land, you can stick it in a boddle, you can 'old it in yer 'and. Amen. crackatube" (thanks to Monty Python)).

Today I rode a few miles to get a couple of rental apps in. Hot and sweaty! Then I dropped by the doctors to make and appointment cos I needed more pill script and they wouldn't let me have more without a pap smear. Grrr! Blackmailed into the uncomfortable and undignified pap smear. It better be clear again - always has been before. So they did it on the spot, if on the spot means sitting with a paper top and a paper blanket for half an hour whilst the nurse wanders in and out and then someone who is either a nurse practitioner or a doctor wandered in. Gosh I hate pap smears and the indignities that go with them (full exam this time!). Just as well that I had a sock to knit on! otherwise I would've fanged on someone.

Something that I have become aware of since moving to the States is how many people claim to have ADD here. It is considered abnormal to be a butterfly and sip from many flowers. I know some people need their speed so they can slow down but I didn't think that there was anything wrong with being a fidgeter. I've fidgeted all my life. As a child, I can remember wriggling like a worm if I had to sit still for a while without something to occupy me. If I don't have Something To Do I get antsy. I fiddle with stuff. As I am typing and reading over what I've written, my toes are wriggling. I thought it was normal. Apparently that means I have ADD. But I've always been able to knuckle down to a task (unless it is something I don't like doing and don't see the point of doing). I can focus on something to the exclusion of all other things. I can move from task to task and get it all done (though an outsider would probably just see chaos cos I don't necessarily do things systematically). Maybe it is just that people here like to have a label. Being labelled is something I prefer not to have happen to me cos most of the labels I was given as a child were rather unkind. But I am happy to give myself labels that others might find perjorative. The difference is that I don't see anything wrong with being a geek, a nerd or a dork. Most of the geeks, nerds and dorks I know are good and decent people. It is the "normal" people who I find are more often unkind and impolite.

Egads, what a rambling rant. I think it might be time for me to do another load of washing and clean the lounge/kitchen. Then I only need to remake the beds and everything will be ready for the return of my MiL and AiL. Hooray!

anon!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Forewarned is forearmed...

G'day all!

What a busy busy busy week it has been! I had not realised how much work it is having visitors! It's been INSANE! MiL and AiL want to pack it all in (and I don't mean the Australian sense of giving up and going home, no I mean get as much seen and done as possible in the shortest possible time). They are running me off my feet!

But they have gone off to Yosemite until Friday and I have a chance to catch up, get some housework done (!!!) (I have been fascinated by the different pubes that have appeared in the bathroom and lordy may I never have a pure white bathroom again!), do a lot more knitting, some shopping without having people gawping at the enormousness that is Wholefoods, general mucking around and not having to go someplace and entertain people. Not that they are high maintenance but I am just not used to not having much of a break in between Doing Stuff. (I'll be putting more pics up on Victorian, On the Move eventually.)

So what have we done in the last week?

Knitted two sleeves and half the back for my LYS shop sample. (no pic)

Wandered around San Jose for half a day after visiting DH at the office and having lunch in the Adobe cafe (good food, cheap!).

sj_artmuseum
(one of the art museums, was a post office!!)

sj_cityhall
(City Hall - this building is empty! Just for looks or what?)

sj_library
(The Martin Luther King Jr library at SJSU)

Had a slow day. Yay!

Visited the local historic house - it only dates from 1925 so it isn't really old but it is beautiful. It is also decorated in a restrained fashion unlike the Victorian/Queen Anne style homes.

ainsley_house

Can you believe that this whole house was relocated from a site a mile away? (Plus one of my friends back 'ome should like its name :-)

Picked up a car and tooled around the burb showing AiL and MiL where we live and what the burbs look like here. We nearly got taken out by a veteran reversing his stupidly large SUV into us - he only used one wing mirror and could not see us right behind him. Even with persistent use of the horn he still kept coming at us... and we were stuck in the parking lot with cross traffic stopping us from getting out. Someone stopped to let us out, thank heavens, otherwise we would've been ringing up to say the rental car we had had for 1.5 hours had just been run into...

We checked out Los Gatos. I found a shady spot to park the car in TWICE! I guess everyone had gone away for the long weekend - it was July 4th, after all.
lg_house
(Cute restaurant)

We then had a picnic in the (car)park at Adobe and watched the fireworks.

fireworks

I was very surprised by how low key the 4th was here - it was somewhat more ra-ra in Colorado. I guess that the Bay area has an awful lot of non-Americans living here, and we are not really into celebrating another country's independence (but we are happy to watch their fireworks :-). All of the joy, none of the responsibility!

fireworks2

Earlier we were enthralled by the planes flying over the Adobe towers. The towers are in the flight path for the local airport. I have a video that I might try uploading.
sj_plane

Saturday we drove off to the mountains and the sea. We had requests for redwoods and the Pacific. So we took off down the 17 (highway), Bear Creek Road,

skyline_onelane
Skyline Boulevard (the end of it is one lane only - such a fun road!),

MiL_njhme_skyline
(looking out over the Bay area from the less exciting part of Skyline))

Alpine Road (redwoods!)
AiL_njh_redwood

redwood_up

young_redwood

and thence to Half Moon Bay for lunch.

hmb_flowers

We like Half Moon Bay - it is very much a tourist town but it is funky and has a good vibe to it. After lucnh we were off down along the highway to some beaches,

foggy_beach
(it was foggy along the coast until we got to Pigeon Point, where it was foggy on one side of the point and sunny on the other. Weird, huh? I guess it is the same fog that envelops SF.)

AiL_cold
for a paddle (my aunt in law. My word, the Pacific was COLD! I stood in the path of a wave whilst taking a shot of some cliffs and OMG! My legs went numb instantly! I've never known seawater to be so cold and I come from a place where the currents sweep up from the Antarctic.)

and flower pics
beach_flowers

coastal_flowers

pigeon_point
and a lighthouse (Pigeon Point).

We stopped to watch some kite surfers -
beach_kitesurfers

these dudes are mad!
beach_kitesurfer

Finally we had dinner in Santa Cruz
sc_ride

at a chocolate shop. LOL I got very cross indeed with this sock
ex_sock
after I dropped one p2tog stitch that ran and ran and ran and in tinking to fix up something I dropped another couple of stitches.... This sock is by the same designer as my most beautiful socks in the world. Anyway, I recorded the sock for posterity and ripped it. I really hate the pattern. No down time in it at all - yo, p2tog all the way....

Sunday. Sunday was slack. We cruised down to Santana Row,

sr_happeningcafe

the local equivalent of Chapel Street (but prettier) - it is the place to be seen. I liked the architecture:

sr_building

Today (yesterday by the time I've put all these pics in!) the in laws fled the Bay area for Yosemite.

At this point I must say I am very grateful to them for keeping the temps down in the Bay area. Until they left, that is...
tempsmil

(Side note - why oh why do I HAVE to put dates in Gnumeric in AMERICAN FORMAT???? Why can I not use a very common, non-American standard? Day, month, year? Why can they not think beyond their own shores or realise other places use different stuff? You might be surprised by the venom with which I made my feelings clear...)

Oh and it has been clear as a bell until yesterday - no smoke from the fires or anything. Today? Back to ole smoky!

So this week is catch up week. Then we are off to Monterey next weekend, and thence to San Francisco for a couple of days, then they fly back 'ome a couple of days later. I am hoping to blog a bit this week and catch up some. Then again I may just lie here feeling overly hot and trying to knit more of this pretty cardi for the LYS.

anon!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Things that have amused me recently...

G'day all!

Mmmmm, spinning

IMG_7886

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep to Shoe, though not yet socked/shoed. It is darker but to show the colours off I had to photograph it in the sun.

IMG_7885

This is one of the Raven series but I threw the label out without thinking...

A story about William Shatner in my old local newspaper. The link will die sooner or later...

An esoteric story (for most of you) about the top 50 Australian albums of the last 50 years. I'm an Aussie and there are bands I've never heard of in there....

An interview with jms (don't read if you don't know who he is).

A freaky life mask of Andreas Katsulas/G'Kar. Freaky cos as always with life masks, you expect the eyes to open and the mouth to start talking... even though it is a copy of a person who is now dead.

A pretty sunset from about two weeks ago, before the smoke set in.
IMG_7897

NorCal has been having terrible bushfires. Lots of places have been burning and it isn't really fire season yet. (We come from a bushfire prone part of Oz, so we grok bushfires to some extent.) The Bay area has been totally smoked in, except yesterday when the winds blew in just the right direction. It's been awful cos smoke is horrid and the amount of smoke = BAD! I get asthmatic from smoke but have been riding anyway cos hello! If I don't, we don't eat. Also I get cabin fever and go mad(der) if I stay home for more than a day.

A friend sent a link to this Book of Accidents: Designed for Young Children. Holy Mary Mother of God! They used to "entertain" children with this stuff?

A man after my own heart (and he is a prince too!). Caution - it talks about the T-word a LOT. (That would be that filthy filthy word, at least in American eyes (let's make that "American sensibilities" cos even I admit it would not be pleasant in your eyes), that word much worse than all the disgusting swear words you can think of that many Americans use quite happily all day long, yes I mean the word TOILET! Why isn't that a swear word? Really, you would think it is from the way so many Yankees cringe when one says it...)

Goodness me, another critical update wants to be downloaded. That would be the fourth one in the last week or so. I feel like I am running Windows not Ubuntu (linux). At least they are looking after us...

anon!