29 May, 2015

Just one of those days

I got up early yesterday so that I could get the early bus to work to have time to eat a yogurt before I started the exam.  I was sure I had left in plenty of time and indeed, if I hadn't been behind the school bus I would have made it.  As it was, I pulled into the garage just as the bus was pulling away.  Rats!  So when I got to work I made myself a cup of tea and went downstairs.  I had my audiobook going, so it wasn't so bad and we were done by 11. 

I held on until 11:30 and then went to get a nice salad for lunch.  Taco salad Thursday!  The chicken they cook for that is just wonderful and I was really needing some food in me, having skipped breakfast.  And then it was time to get the bus to Ballard for my mammogram.  I have been getting mine done there for ... wow, probably 20 years.  But they moved the office a few years and there are newer buildings around and I get lost every time I go there!  I made it in time, but took a very circuitous route.

That done I headed home, having nothing to do at the office.  I wanted a nap.  Unfortunately there was road work that made my commute from the transit center home until a long hot frustrating drive.  And I had to stop at the grocery store so I didn't get home all that much earlier.  Maybe an hour.  I tried to take a little snooze but it was too late.  Ah well.

Today is going to be hot.  I've got nothing on my plate at work although it looks like I might have a nice big project coming up later this month.  Fingers crossed.  Today I can go to the gym, finally.  And what else?  Maybe leave a little early.

27 May, 2015

Beautiful

It is a stunning morning and it's going to be super nice now through the weekend.  Tomorrow is the last final exam and I've got to proctor.  It starts at 8 am!  Can you imagine?  When I expressed my surprise at the early time, the guy from testing said that the students prefer an early start.  Or really?  I mentioned it to one of the students yesterday and she said that most of the students were not at all happy with that early start time.  They'd been talking about it on their Facebook page.  But they'll be done by 11 or so, which is good because I booked a mammogram appointment for 1:10 that afternoon.  It's only a 30 minute bus ride away so I'll easily make it.  What I am concerned about is waking up!  I typically have my tea when I get in and then about 8:30 do my oatmeal and berries.  I can't see me waiting until 11 to eat breakfast.  I guess I'll catch the earlier bus and get in with a little time left so that I can have a yogurt and take my tea downstairs with me.

I got a good start on the last section of the blanket yesterday at noon knitting.  I didn't knit last night though.  My schedule got off because we were waiting for the contractor to come by to look at the house so he could get a bid together for painting.  Everything was late - he was, of course, late.  An hour later than he said.  Typical.  And I was just so tired.  Already I'm anxious for the weekend so I can sleep in!

26 May, 2015

A busy long weekend

Wow - we went out three evenings in a row this weekend!  Friday we went to the Triplehorn.  We were both exhausted but we wanted to get out and it was the start of a long weekend.  We took Tink and sat outside, which is always nice. 

I was very disappointed in the music Saturday night.  We had gotten a bunch of people to meet us there, but the band was just awful!  The singer was terrible and the music itself was not dance music - or at least anything we wanted to dance to.  And loud.  Holy cow.  The best part of the evening was chatting with Gregg.  He wants to get together and put a few songs together and I am SO happy about that! 

I got a lot done this weekend including a trip to Home Depot to get herbs and tomatoes and some paint samples.  That place was a madhouse though!  Insane.  Just crammed with people -- rude people.  While I was waiting for my paint samples to be mixed I wheeled through the plants and got so flustered that I ended up with two Thai basil plants.  I must remember to either go early in the morning or try to do it during the week.  The weekend is not fun.

I got lots and lots of knitting done on the Dahlia blanket.  Today at noon knitting I will be starting the last petal section which will more than double the number of stitches I've got on the needle at this point.  It's going to be so cute.

Short week and the last week of the quarter before the students take off for summer.  Then it's really going to be quiet around here.

22 May, 2015

A rocky start

Yesterday after lunch I decided I would tackle the start of the Dahlia blanket again.  First I re-thought how I was doing the cast on - the suggested Easy Circular Cast On.  I reread the instructions and voila! I was doing it wrong!  It took me three tries to finally get the cast on right and then two or three more times of knitting up to row three to realize I was having a problem catching all the loops on a knit two together with the first stitch a YO.  I was also having problems getting the center of the hole to cinch up.  I finally decided to knit one round before I started the first round of the pattern and that was the right decision.  I knit up to row five and it looks right.  I'll do more today.  It's going to be pretty quiet.

It was very warm yesterday and when I got home the clouds had rolled in, so it was muggy as well.  But I didn't want to be inside, so I poured myself a nice glass of wine and sat in the back and listened to the birds.  Plans were laid for a fun evening Saturday.  My friend Rusty is playing with a band this weekend in Woodinville and the place has a dance floor!  And, bonus, Gregg, who played with us in that crazy band a few years ago and who I had a duo with the last time I sang in public, is also going to be there.  It should be a fun evening.

Other than that though it's going to be a work-y weekend.  The house painters are coming out on Monday to look at the job and let us know when they can start and we've got lots of work to do, most notably dismantling a lean-to firewood thing that is up against the tool shed, which will need to be painted when they do the house.  I've wanted to get rid of that eyesore forever.  But it's going to be work.

And hopefully knitting.  It won't be too warm this weekend.  Of course not. 

21 May, 2015

The right yarn for the project

As luck would have it, one of my appointments got moved yesterday so I decided to head up to Weaving Works yesterday rather than Friday, being rather keen to start that blanket before it gets too hot to knit on it.  I hopped on the bus and I was there in a few minutes.  That was my first visit to Weaving Works since it moved from the U District (walking distance) to Roosevelt and 65th.  It's not so much a larger space, but it is laid out differently.  They used to have what they called a "super wash wall", super wash indicating that the yarn is machine washable.  But now all of their yarn is done by gauge - smallest to largest.  The yarns that are washable have a blue dot on their description card.  Without too much trouble I found a beautiful baby pink yarn that fit the bill perfectly - Vintage Chunky by Berrocco.  I also had $10 credit on my rewards account there - bonus! 

After I got home and got Tink walked, my chores completed, my hair washed and dried I set about winding the six balls of yarn I had purchased.  And finally I set about starting this project.  It's done in the round and therefore the first few rows are bound to be a bit difficult.  I had to take it out twice and decided not to go for a third time.  I have brought it in with me today and hopefully I can get it done this afternoon.  It's quiet around here and I don't have any appointments this afternoon.  Two tomorrow though.  I was hoping to get out early but I've got one at 2:30.  Well, I'll still be able to leave early.  There is a bus before three that I can get.

Turns out there is a party on Sunday.  But the weather is not going to be very nice so I guess it'll have to be inside.  Oh well.  How long has it been since we've actually had a nice Memorial Day weekend?

20 May, 2015

Turned!

Noon knitting was just three of us -- in our lunchroom since MaryEllin is still gone and both of our conference rooms were occupied.  I got the heels turned on the socks I've been working on and then I need to do the gussets.  I want to get that done so I'll have a good TV knitting project.  Turning the heel is a bit fiddle-y but once I get the markers in, doing the gusset is easy.  And Monika brought me a library book with the pattern I want to make in it - the Dahlia Blanket from "Knitting from the Center Out".  My challenge is to find the right yarn for the project.  The pattern calls for Blue Sky Alpaca Hand Dyes, which is not going to work for this since it is going to be a blanket for a baby and hence,  must be machine washable.  But there are many many nice machine washable yarns out there.  I must go to a yarn store though because I need to feel them and get just the right color.  Maybe on Friday I'll take the bus up to Weaving Works at lunchtime.  Yes, that means skipping the gym but this is an odd week for that.  Monday I was at home, yesterday I had noon knitting, today I have two student appointments, tomorrow I have the dentist so Friday ... sure, I might as well go to the yarn store.

This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend, the official start to the summer season.  As usual, rain is predicted but it's not supposed to be pouring so that's good.  So far, no parties are planned although we do plan to go hear some music and drink some wine on Friday night, and my old drummer is playing in a band Saturday night in Woodinville so we might go there as well.  But considering the work I'd like to get done in the yard and around the house, I suspect I'll be pretty tired.

One of the people down the street have a large piece of property that has a flat part with their large house and even larger lawn, and then on one side of the property is a steep bank with trees and brush.  Last month they cleared, by hand, a portion of it and put in a tree swing for their children.  I noticed Sunday there was a plastic fence put up around the other part of the hill and a sign on it about urban goats.  Sure enough, they were there yesterday, chomping away at the hill.  I stopped and had a little chat with the husband and wife team who own the goats.  They own Scottish terriers and so just loved Tinkerbell and she was very curious about the goats.  I've seen goats clearing blackberry bushes here at the UW - well, it was a few years ago.  It's pretty cool.

19 May, 2015

Work from home Monday

I had such a busy day yesterday.  I had my doctor's appointment and the rest of the time I was home.  The weather was lovely but I was tethered to my computer.  Well, I was multi tasking as well.  On Sunday the Blu Ray player I had purchased on September all of a sudden stopped playing regular DVDs.  I fussed with it a good bit on Sunday, trying to watch a movie.  It was very frustrating but luckily I was able to rent the movie I wanted to watch from Amazon Prime, which runs through that very same Sony Blu Ray player, by the way.  Anyway yesterday while I was setting up appointments for students to see me later this week I was on the phone and on line with Sony tech support.  Three different times, mind you.  Three different people and all three of them had me doing the very same steps to try to resolve the issue.  One hour and 30 minutes later we came to the conclusion that the machine is broken.  *sigh*  But the good news is that I will get a new one.  I just have to send it back to Texas, which I will do today.

The weekend was okay, but not sunny and you know me, I hate to garden when it's cloudy outside.  So no gardening, but a fair amount of running about doing errands.  This coming weekend will be a little more rigorous, since we have to start thinking about getting the house painted and what needs to be moved, etc.  Maybe another trip to the dump.  Fun times.

Noon knitting today.  I'm going to try to get the heels turned on these socks.  And I need a new project!  I'd like to make a baby blanket for my manicurist.  I have a lovely pattern picked out.

15 May, 2015

Bunnies galore

I swear, the neighborhood looks like a rabbit preserve, there are so many rabbits hopping around!  Tink is getting used to them and she doesn't try so hard to chase them.  Not that she wouldn't if she didn't have a tether.

The gym did help with my sleepiness yesterday.  It's a great time of year too because kids are studying for finals and getting ready for graduation and it's much quieter now.  It should be like this for the rest of the spring and summer.  Considering I've been off for more than three weeks, I had a really decent workout and I'm sore today.  I will go again this noontime and then I'll be off Monday and Tuesday because of my doctor's appointment Monday and knitting Tuesday.  Speaking of knitting ..... still haven't heard from MaryEllin.

I'll need to get it together soon for my garden -- herbs and tomatoes for sure and I'd also like to do some arugula and mescaline greens.  Those are going to be hard to keep away from the rabbits unless I put them into containers.  I'll give that some thought this weekend.  It's not supposed to be super nice, but hopefully not pouring rain.

Home a week and I'm still sad.  I want to go back to Paris this fall but I doubt it. I am going to try but it's going to be a hard sell.

14 May, 2015

A hard lesson

Yesterday my left contact lens was really bothering me.  Something was in my eye and I needed to use some eye drops BUT I had taken them out of my cosmetic bag and put them into the liquids baggie for traveling and I hadn't put them back into my bag!  Oh and it hurt!  I wanted to take it out and just use tap water but them I remembered that sometimes the lens does not go back in easily at that point, especially if the eye is sore.  I stuck it out and found someone who had a bottle of drops and gave the eye a good wash.  I couldn't leave to go buy more eye drops until after that stupid exam!  Ideally I would have taken them out and put on some glasses but I didn't have a spare pair at work.  Well, I do now my friends.  I most certainly do now. 

I was SO tired all day yesterday.  And when I got home I just collapsed.  I did not want to cook or knit or do anything.  I stayed up as late as I possibly could, watching the penultimate episode of Once Upon a Time and falling into bed at 9 pm.  I was asleep at 9:02.  And you know what?  I am still tired today! 

I have no children and I am hardly an expert on them, but I observed something while traveling on trains on this last trip and I can't understand it.  Twice I saw people with toddlers riding and the toddlers getting progressively more out of hand as the trip went on.  One was a couple with a precocious little guy about 3 years old and the other was a woman on her own with a little girl about 3 or 4 and two babies, one she was holding and another in a stroller.  Here's what I don't understand - nobody brought anything for the toddlers to play with!  No books or dolls.  No fruit or juice or anything!  How can you expect a little child to amuse themselves in their heads for two or three hours?  Well you can't.  The poor little things got progressively noisier and disruptive.  The couple would try to talk to the boy and distract him -- all they had was a folded map to distract him with.  The single mother ended up swatting the little girl because she wanted to sit down in a seat in our car rather than squat with the mother and the pram in between the cars.  Unbelievable.  Thank goodness they were not on the same train -- or maybe not.  I guess the little boy and girl could have played together and all would have been fine.

Thursday.  I can go to the gym today.  Maybe that will wake me up finally.  Fingers crossed.

13 May, 2015

Spoiled

I guess all of that good weather in Europe spoiled me.  I really miss the sunshine!  I hear the weather was good all the time I was gone, but now it's typical gray skies and mist.  Basically it's the same way in Europe I guess, from looking at my weather app, but a little bit warmer.  It's chilly here.  Not chilly enough to turn on the heat or build a fire, but chilly.  It's so difficult to wake up entirely without some sunshine.

Noon knitting was fun, but we missed MaryEllin.  I guess she had some sort of family emergency while I was gone and she's still missing. 

I don't record a lot of TV, but there are a couple of shows I do watch.  Once Upon A Time had four episodes waiting for me and I got through two of them last night and I've got one more regular one and the 2 hour finale.  It has gotten a little fantastic, even considering the fantastical nature of the original premise.  But I'll stick it out and watch the finale.  I am undecided about another season though.

I've got to proctor an exam for two people today and another one on Monday.  But Monday I've got my annual exam appointment and I don't want to move it.  Luckily I got somebody to stand in for me - it's not a big exam.  I really didn't want to try to get into work in the afternoon.  It's next to impossible.  At the very least a huge hassle.  IF I can find parking in the garage.  It's much better to work at home on those days.

Well I'd better have another cup of tea or I'm just going to put my head down on my desk and snooze!

12 May, 2015

The bus driver's detour

When I went out to wait for my bus last night I noticed that the earlier bus, which my app OneBusAway had said had already passed by, was loading passengers.  So I hurried along and was the last person on the bus.  I settled in with my headphones on and away we went.  I was playing a word in a game of WordFeud when I looked up to find that he had just driven past the entrance to the freeway and was turning right down the next street after the missed entrance.  A residential street.  He obviously did not know what he was doing or, more importantly, where he was going.  If he had gone up to the freeway he could have gotten on and right off and circled around and been fine.  As it was he took a 30 minute detour to get onto the 520 bridge.  Idiot!  And then the rear door got stuck open at one of the freeway stops.  This does happen from time to time and the bus driver just turns the bus off and when he restarts the door closes.  I think it's because the rubber stopper on the bottom of the bus hits the curb.  Anyway .... that was another few minutes lost until a kindly bus driver behind him came up and showed him what to do.  He had tried to turn it off but "helpful" people outside kept trying to force the doors shut.  Actually, truth be told, I finally couldn't keep my mouth shut and told the driver that the guys outside were not helping and that they should leave it alone and he should turn the bus off.  He didn't do that though until the other bus driver told him the same thing.  Yeah.

So I was quite late getting home and Tink was very very happy to see me.  I know she probably slept all day but after three weeks with other dogs to play with I can't help feeling a little guilty that she doesn't have a playmate. 

How was work yesterday?  Busy actually.  I didn't get to go to the gym and I won't be able to until Thursday.  Today is noon knitting and tomorrow I have to proctor an exam.  Thursday is fine.  I'm still fighting jet lag a bit, although last night I had the best night I've had since getting home, sleeping through until at least 5 am.  Plus I took a Benadryl before bed because I've been so stuffed up -- the cottonwoods are drifting.  I well and truly missed my nap yesterday though.  That's one of the awesome things about vacation, the naps. 

11 May, 2015

Back to the real world

So we're back.  Our trip was really really good.  It got off to a very rocky start though.  The plan was for us to pack on Thursday the 16th, and then I would go to work Friday morning and Ben would take the dog to the boarding place, close up the house and take the shuttle to the airport and I would meet him there, leaving work around 1 and taking the train.  So there we are packing and nearly done and ready to go out to eat when I say "Where's your passport"?  Normally I wouldn't even bother with a question like that, but he had said earlier in the week that I should remind him just so he doesn't forget - a joke like.  So he goes to the safe, opens it up and ... no passport.  He had gotten a new one, since his old one was about to expire.  He took it to work on the 1st to scan it so he'd have a copy for the trip and then it's gone.  Well he looked and looked and started to panic.  I looked too for a while, but it was obvious that it was not going to be found.  And he's really panicking at this point.  So I got on the internet and found a phone number for the passport hotline for when you lose your passport and I give them a call.  There is no way I was going to miss this trip and I know this has to happen now and again.  The woman on the phone was very helpful and told him that he should call and get an appointment and if he can get all of the necessary paperwork, pictures, etc. together the passport office can do a passport in 3 hours.  And that's what happened.  We still drove all the way to his office to make positive sure he hadn't left it there, and there wasn't much sleep Thursday night.  I got up and got the dog to the boarders then his cousin's wife picked us up and got us to the passport office an hour before his appointment.  So before noon we had his passport and we were on our way to the airport.  Needless to say I didn't relax until I had a couple of martinis under my belt.

We used Airbnb for our accommodations the entire trip and with the exception of one place, all went well.  The first place was quite noisy, being right on a main street in Paris.  For all I know Paris, I forgot that rue de Rivoli changes names up near Bastille and I assumed we were just off the main drag when in face our window opened up right onto it.  Good earplugs and jet lag afforded us enough sleep.

After three days we took Ryanair to Venice and had a really cute, albeit moist, little apartment off the beaten track and away from the worst of the tourists.  We loved it!  The crowds were insane though because the weather was awesome.  Hot even.  We walked and walked and walked.  On the day before we left we bought a day pass and just rode the vaporetto all day. 

It was rainy in Florence, but Emma met us there and we had such fun with her.  The apartment was large with a washing machine so we were able to do a couple of loads of clothes and have them dry in the three days we were there.  This is the only place we went to museums and I bought the tickets early so that we wouldn't have to stand in line.  The Academia was great because of the crowd control.  They don't let it get too packed.  After lunch we had a 3 o'clock at the Uffizzi and I swear I could not wait to get out of there.  It was completely nuts.  Too crowded and hot and I was not happy.

After Florence Emma went her way and we went to Monterosso al Mare.  We had a cute little place with a private garden.  That is where we found the best restaurant - Ciak.  We ate there twice.  Incredible seafood.  We didn't do any  hiking - the weather wasn't great but the amount of tourists was staggering.  It rained and it was still packed.

We then made our way by train to Geneva for a little break before going back to Paris.  Geneva was expensive, annoying for not using the Euro and our Airbnb place was disgusting.  We stayed one night and the next morning I found us an hotel near the train station.  It was a cute hotel and quiet, relatively.  We strolled around Geneva a bit and had fondue for dinner.  Ahhhh ... cheese and beer for dinner.

Then back to Paris for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We had dinner with Eoghan and Deirdre again on Wednesday.  Eoghan was trying his hardest to get us to move our return home a week and go with them to the south of France.  But of course we couldn't do it.  I had to get back to work and my dog.

And here's what I found in the front garden:
They all bloomed and there are more buds.  Lovely.  Maybe next weekend I can do the herbs and tomatoes. 

For now I'd better dig in to the real world.

05 May, 2015

The cupboard under the stairs

Finally back in Paris for the last few days of the trip. I am looking forward to having a real keyboard so I can make a real post. Italy was great and Geneva was a disaster. The apartment I got from Airbnb was ridiculous so I found a hotel for Monday. Hopefully I can get a refund. The little studio here in Paris is like a cupboard but I do not care. This is home to me. But I keep seeing ghosts.

26 April, 2015

From Florence

One week in. The WiFi in Venice was not useable. I cannot post in my iPad very well so this is short. No knitting. Yet. The weather has been crazy good. Speaking of crazy, our departure was extra crazy because we had to deal with replacing a passport 23 hours before departure. It is doable bit I don't recommend it. How does a passport escape from a safe? You tell me.

It is pouring in Florence and we are waiting for Emma to show up. Her plane had to return to Frankfurt.

More later.