Saturday, November 30, 2013


G'day all!

I may be a bit excited.

We have keys!

Keys!  About to be changed keys!

We went up to our "new" house this evening and looked at what we want to do before moving in.  Painting is the main thing.

But what colours?  DH is really keen on BLACK for the living area! 

Lovely leaves and stone.
Nothing to do with our "new" house.

His proposal has been vetoed.  I have this power.  I want something light and bright because the room is pretty dull - we have a massive Douglas fir in the front yard but it is on the north side so whilst it dulls down the light, it doesn't actually shade the house.  The room is currently brown.

The bedroom will be a range of blues because we will keep our fish wall.  I am not keen on stapling felt to the lathe and plaster wall, however.  Am wondering if we will just use dots of sticky stuff.

Little Lady Liberty at Alki Beach

The study?  Dunno.  I am still keen on light/yellowy greens and yellow.  The bathroom is currently beige and I'm not really keen on that but do we want to change it yet?  What colour should it be instead?  A warm blue (there are such things)?  Buttery yellow (a warm yellow)?  The laundry is a non-colour and the kitchen what Australians would call lemon yellow - a light yellow, slightly acidic, but I think Americans call it butter.

I will share pics when I have decent ones - at the moment I just have a few quick snaps from outside on the phone, nothing inside.

Trees with invisible in this shot fairy lights.

Apart from that, what has happened recently?

I have an insane desire for
a dyed, holographic glitter poinsettia.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, with many thanks to R&M.  There were two groups of people there - ones not from work and ones from work (plus hangers on like me).  It's nice to have family by blood and family by choice.  I'm still pretty pleased with myself for getting another (not my) work friend invited when it became clear to me that he was feeling a bit left out.  We had lots of food cos we all brought something - I made a GF/vegan rice "stuffing", a root (plus fennel) vegetable puree and a GF/vegan apple pie with crumble topping.

May I say that the apple pie rocked?  The others were ok, though the mash/puree was a little startling because I used unsweetened hemp milk (y'know the most vegan of vegan non-dairy milks) which turns out to have vanilla in it!  So it didn't really taste the way I expected it to...  LOL  I have roasted pie pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie out of too - I might see if I can squeeze that in tomorrow.

Almost sunset.

I also really need to get a new phone.  My poor old phone is starting to have issues with booting up - it randomly crashes (always has) and I pull the battery out of it to shut it down, replace the battery and restart it.  I've had it go through the start up cycle five times before booting the OS several times recently.  I'm likely to get a fablet - a Samsung Note 3 even if Samsung are becoming ebil and also put heaps of bloatware on the things.  Nexuses may have the cleanest OS in the Android world but they also have the most pathetic cameras and I'm not buying a phone with a crap camera because I use the camera all the time!  So that is another financial hit.  I think I'll go see T-mobile cos they have the best overseas options and I hope one day to travel again!  Ta-ta ATT!

Still almost sunset.  Alas I didn't get to see sunset
from here - someone else had a gut ache....

The weather forecast is looking frightfully exciting for the coming week.  Rain tomorrow then a cold front pushes through bringing arctic air in its wake.  It will be certainly less than fridge temp and probably below freezing for most of the week.  There is the chance of snow!  We didn't get snow all last winter, not in the lowlands of Ballard though Phinney Ridge at 300 feet did!  Of course this has to be the week we get our place!  Doh!  Just as well we have a dehumidifier and it has heating so that we can dry out the wet paint... once we paint...

We have seen the sun in living memory.

Hmm, not much else happening here.  I've been happily re-reading some of my stories.  They entertain me but nobody else - I'm not letting anyone else read my dross!

Small machine, big quilt.  Gloves are essential!
I've been thinking about buying a new sewing machine, one that is better for quilting on.  Alas the good specials come at the same time as we are at our poorest, and after reading things about how evil finance plans are for your credit score, I guess I'd best not get one.  Shame, because I'm having problems wrangling my current large quilt through the harp of the current machine.... but the machine still works (crosses fingers).

Binary quilt detail

The current quilt is pretty cool, eh?  It is for the binary challenge that the local modern quilt guild is holding.

Wider shot of quilt top before basting and quilting.

Oh, I went back to the otolaryngologist a couple of Fridays ago.  He looked at my vocal cords again and said he doesn't want to see me again, but give him a call before Christmas.  My right vocal cord is starting to work again - not consistently but on and off and is actually making its way across to the midpoint particularly when I say more than a word or two.  I still get breathless but nowhere near as badly as I was and I can almost keep up with DH when he walks places now, as long as the hill isn't too steep...  Then again I used to puff when walking up steep hills anyway!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting there, ever getting there

G'day all!

Do you ever wonder if you'll ever get there?  Or where "there" is for that matter?  I'm told "there" is wherever you want it to be, but some days I'm not sure what I want it to be.  There are so many options!

Thank you for the birthday wishes.  I had quite a pleasant day :-)  I met up with a fellow Aussie and we wandered around the market room of a local knitting conference.   We had a good natter.  I may have bought some yarn there.

I started knitting some of it immediately but the idea didn't work out so I have two balls of yarn again.  Knitting is good like that - if it isn't working out, you can pull it out and start over or just leave it to marinate in stash for a while.

Unsuccessful knitting

I thought it might work but nope.

That evening we went out for dinner with some friends, then home for cake.  I found a completely gluten-free and vegan bakery/cafe (not that the vegan part is important for me but the dairy-free part of vegan is!) and bought a double chocolate un-cheesecake.  It was very yummy but I think that eating both a goodly slice of it and half a slice of the pumpkin pie one was a little more than I should've had... also, caffeine in the evening is a bad idea for me so I may have sat up for a while jittering away.  Whoops!

I knitted some socks for me for my birthday.
They deserve more than a pic in passing but
this is all they get for the nonce.

Presents?  What did I get for my birthday?  Well I got taken out to dinner, twice - the following evening we had dinner with a couple of other friends.  (I hope we didn't tip them well - my meal was burnt on the bottom, which meant I couldn't eat a good half of it.  I've heard of caramelised vegies and even partaken of them but when they are black they are pretty horrid.  And no, they didn't take it off the bill and basically ignored my ugh, half of it is burnt.)  MiL and FiL gave me some Australian wildflower-themed fabric.   I got a card or two (PiLs and the chiro!), plus one from a friend with a gift card to Lowe's.   I bought me some nice yarn.  Just as well that I don't expect a lot for birthdays now....

My pink sleeveless cardie thing is awaiting
the buttons but I've already worn it :-)

Oh, the other thing that DH claims he got me for my birthday is that we have been in negotiations for a house.  The sellers agreed to our requests on my birthday!  We are still awaiting the outcome of financing but it seems very likely to go ahead.  If it all goes to plan in just over two weeks (yikes!) we will be in possession of a tiny little house just up the road from where we currently live.


He says it is a birthday house, I say it is just odd timing for it to happen on my birthday.

Fall leaves are almost done.  Shipping canal, Fremont.

Anyway, it is all exciting and we are planning things and trying to work out how much cash we will have left after the deposit and the various things we have to pay for to finance the loan (closing costs are going to be close to $10K!).

We made the usual contingencies on our offer - subject to inspection/sewer scope, finance, that sort of stuff.  The inspection didn't show up a single surprise I don't think - for a house built in 1943 it is in good shape - but there are things that will have to be attended to sooner or later.  The sewer scope - well that was a different matter! (Ahem!)

So many leaves from the liquidambars/sweet gums.

For the sewer scope they stick a little video camera on a hose down into the sewer.  And we did find "material" there - there's what they called a belly in the pipe, which means "material" can gather there and may eventually form a soft plug, depending on what one's habits are...  We were given a DVD of the inspection along with a written report.  The jokers even give you a bag of microwave popcorn for your movie night when you sit down to view the vid.

Still obsessed by leaves...

Can I just say that DH deciding to watch the video just before dinner was instructive but not exactly enjoyable?  Indeed there may have been squeals of "ooh yuck, I can't watch this at the moment, I'm about to serve tea?"  "See those brown l-"  "Dude, you don't need to tell me what those are, I can guess!"  "Hey, look, toilet paper!"  "ARGH!  I want to eat my dinner, not feel sick!"

But can you blame me with leaves like this?

I now know more about an older lady's "habits" than I wish to know... and so do you if you have an active imagination!

So what else has happened recently?  Umm, we went to an art show (really a chance for artists to show off their works and sell some) and DH really liked some of the things by a photographer whose work I like, so that was good.  I felt a little validated.  I have no idea why I like to have my interests validated but I do.

The sun is almost all the way south again - you can barely see the Olympics in right of shot!

I've still been taking heaps of pics of autumn leaves on my phone - you would think I'd lug around the good camera a bit more but nope, just been snapping away on the poor old phone.  It's pink spot is becoming more and more obvious, probably because I'm having to photograph under poor lighting conditions.  However, the pink spot does not account for the redness of the leaf below....

The yellow leaves didn't want to touch the red one.

I've got heaps of work to get done in the next week or so.  It is going slower than I hoped cos I may have left the hard stuff until last.  Ahem.  But it is getting there.

A brave nasturtium still flowering in the gloom.

I trundled down to a craft/quilting show in Puyallup yesterday.  It was sorta interesting.  I learned a couple of things, like how to stop thread from twisting up on itself and knotting when you are hand sewing (use thread conditioner - used to be beeswax but it can stain).  I remembered how predatory the sewing machine salespeople are.  They are always trying to upsell me to an $8,000 (plus tax!) sewing machine that can do everything bar wash the dishes in the kitchen sink and put away the washing....  I just want a machine that I can use for quilting and for the odd bit of dress making.  My current sewing machine is acceptable but slow, heavy and tends to be noisy/thunky, especially when set up on a plastic trestle table as we found out today!

My bulls eye square plus its backing

However, it does do the job.  Vis, the above!  I went to a quilt-in and did a workshop with one Amy Dame, and it was excellent and now I am not so skeered of curves (though I can see a little puckery action in the pale fabric! It is much lighter weight than the other fabric).  Anyway, it will end up being a cushion when I've quilted the bullseye side - the backing is already quilted (this is when we found out how bouncy the table can be!) and has a zipper installed.

Look, a zipper hidden inside!
But before I can finish this little project, I have to get a lot more done on my binary challenge quilt.  The idea of the challenge is that we choose two colours and use them in a modern quilt.  We can use different shades/tones of the colours (so if you are using blue you can go from light to dark blue but you can't go from yellow to orange) and we can use fabrics with more than just that colour in them if the colour reads as one of the chosen colours.  So I finally worked out what I wanted to do and gathered my materials and have started work.  I'll show it off when it's a bit further along the track than a handful of blocks and a pile of cut up fabric.

Anyway, things are going to be pretty hectic over the next while, what with the house and a big deadline for my work and a quilty deadline.  I live in exciting times!


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Waiting waiting waiting

G'day all!

We are waiting on some big news.  Waiting is tedious.  I thought we might have some big news before I blogged again but alas, no.

Autumn leaves are falling
It involves LOTS of paperwork and no it isn't a baby.  You guys should know me better than that....  Anyway, we don't have an answer yet, so I'm not saying anything more about it.

This is such a cute little tree.
This week has been busy, between the paperwork, trying to get work done, and screwing up my taxes (Oz taxes - I put the wrong figure in the wrong place in the online tax system and couldn't figure out why my numbers were all wrong but of course since it said this I believed it because some days paperwork and computers flummox me so then I had to do a heap more paperwork to try to fix it up and the printer of course ran out of ink and I had to do a special trip to buy more ink, etc, etc....).

For some reason this pic isn't rotated.  Odd, eh?

Today/tomorrow I turn older.  It is getting scary, this birthday business.  DH was complaining at dinner last night that security at a bar he tried to go into wouldn't let him in because he didn't have US-government-issued ID.  They wouldn't accept his Oz driver's licence - how did they know that he wasn't just a visitor to the States? Apparently they would take a passport though... but anyway, it meant that he pulled out his licence and showed it around the table for all to admire - it has lots of security features including a clear spot in it.  Apparently they are all the rage at the moment.

Now there is a point to this story and I'll get to it soon....

?Boston Ivy?  Downtown.

So my age is a rather tender "secret" to me.  My friends back home know how old I am, well my cohort from uni does because we are all within a year or two in age with another bunch about 5-7 years younger.  Lots of us don't have kids, lots of us do, and the ones with kids hang out with each other and the ones without kids can do non-kid-friendly things.  Over here most people my age seem to have kids.  Not having kids is like not having a dog - it reduces your way of meeting other adults.  I meet people through knitting and through DH's work.  DH's colleagues tend to be younger, rather than older.  (Where do old software engineers go?  They can't all become managers, there aren't that many managers out there are there?)

Fall leaves are really falling.
Today's windstorm helped.

At DH's previous place, I met a bunch of really great people.  I liked quite a number of them but it is sorta scary when most of the people you know in a city are young enough that you could've given birth to them.

These poor socks needed a shave
and a haircut - now they are spiffy!

And of course the cycle repeats itself here, though thank heavens there are a few 30 year olds.  Anyway, here's me all tender about my age and after DH pulls out his licence and people comment on the big month and year printed on the back of it, what do I go and do?

Windstorm was windy - this sign
developed quite a lean.

I pull out mine.  And yes, it has a BIG month and year printed on the back of it too.

Take... the MONORAIL!

Doh!  So now anyone who looked at it knows.  And I feel old, especially after being asked how young I was in the pic - it was taken nearly 10 years ago by a boy who was wasted in the post office cos if he could make me look gorgeous with a happy snap, he could do marvels with a good camera with good lighting/etc.   I feel wrinkly and like an aged crone whilst DH's colleagues are again mostly all so young and unwrinkly and gorgeous.  (NB I got to see other peoples' licences but I didn't look at dates of birth or anything cos I sorta feel that is impolite but some of the pictures were amusing.)  It weirds me out a bit that I've become conscious of my appearance in some circumstances - I never used to worry when I was younger.  Chemo really knocked me around and seeing the ageing process happen in a matter of months rather than it creeping up on me over a number of years was probably the killer.

New sound sculpture by the Space Needle

So I am sorta conflicted about birthdays.  I am pleased to have made it to another birthday after all the cancer stuff and being fairly convinced I wouldn't see out the year, but OMG when did I get so old?  And in another few years I'll be having a very significant birthday - like how did this happen to me?

My punkin barfed and I was pleased.

I carved my first pumpkin on Monday night.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be.  I admit that I didn't scoop out a lot of the flesh but with the little saw blades it was quite easy.

He was very scary at night though.

I put my jack-o-lantern outside on the balcony and scared myself later that night when I caught sight of him leering in.  LOL

The phone likes to bend things in panoramas.
This building really is safe, not wonky...

I went downtown for various reasons over the last couple of weeks and took advantage of a sunny day.  We've had a lot of fog in the last while and it was getting tedious - two weeks of the stuff.  It is unusual in this clime to get that much fog for that long but I am pleased to say that we have returned to normal and have rain and wind instead, with the occasional spot of sunshine.

Scary fog at night

One afternoon the fog was amazing - it cleared up at about 2pm and it was marvellously sunny.  Then, just as an online work meeting was starting, I saw puffs of white moving up the shipping canal.  I thought it must've been smoke or steam, but it was fog rolling up from the Sound.  It continued to build up - I wish I'd gotten pics but it was an important meeting and I had to pay attention.

Above the fog on Phinney Ridge - maybe 250 feet up.

By the time the meeting finished, the fog had consolidated its hold and spread out around my area in a pea souper.  The sun was low in the sky and the fog gleamed silver.  Interestingly, half a mile up the road (up being the operative word!) the fog had lifted.  I drove through a dip and voila, fog!  I drove up Phinney Ridge and voila!  No fog!  The view was fantastic...

Befogged dandelion clock

The Fall colours have been wonderful.  I've been enjoying them a great deal, though I expect after today's wind and rain many of the trees will be bare.

DH often says how he likes my cooking.  I have no idea why cos I am a pretty average cook if I do say so myself.  I've had a number of disasters recently because I've been distracted by mountains of paperwork and finding rabbit holes to hide in and not paying attention to what's happening on the stove.... like:

This is not chunky custard nor mac and cheese.
This is what happens when you put quinoa
pasta in water that isn't yet boiling.  Oops.

In voice news, I went back and saw the laryngologist for a follow up appointment.  He stuck the endoscope into my nose (argh, yuck, I hateses it even with the anaesthetic spray that doesn't work so well on me but does leave a horridly sore throat for the next 36 hours) and made me say various things again, pulled the scope out and told me that my vocal cord is recovering.

I had sorta guessed as much because I am not as puffed when I walk and my voice is getting stronger, plus my vocal range is increasing.  And today I managed to read out most of a (shortish) paragraph without having to stop and gasp for air - at one point I couldn't string four words together without gasping.  It still is tedious though because it is really easy for me to overdo things without even noticing.  But it is good at the same time because now I can hurry for the bus - not run for it but walk fairly quickly.  I've discovered that mincing steps are my friend, even if I feel pretty silly.

We took a friend up highway 20 again.  So pretty!  Washington Pass/Liberty Bell was amazing, again, unsurprisingly.  The road is probably closed now - they are expecting 1-2 feet of snow this weekend and that is probably that for the season until March or April or May, depending on how much snow they get over winter/spring.

Ignore the bad processing, enjoy the view!

I think I have a new favourite place

Because this is gobsmacking.
Hopefully by the next time I blog, we'll have news, but then again we might not cos I'll find something else to ramble about instead.  I'm not sure what I'm going to take pics of next because we are running out of autumn leaves and grey skies and rain aren't much fun to take pics of or show off.  Hmm...  The winter photo conundrum.  Plus we lose daylight saving tomorrow and the sun will set before 5pm for the first time since January.  Argh!