28 February, 2013

Oh that dog!

Tink had one of those nights last night and I feel like I didn't sleep more than an hour at a stretch the entire night.  First she wanted on the bed.  Then off the bed.  Then on the bed.  Then off.  Then she whined to get back on and when I reached for her she shimmied under the bed.  And on and on it went.  This is unusual for her and I don't know exactly why she did it, except that it was exceptionally noisy outside last night as well.  Loud trucks late at night.  Horns honking at 1:30 am.  Kids skateboarding!  All unusual.  No - it's not a full moon either. And it's not getting any better here at work.  Two people out in my office suite - the ones who take care of accepting packages and doing the mail - all those things I don't do.  Plus the fire alarms in my office and in the hall are making a weird noise due to some sort of test.  I have been here all of ten minutes and I'm about to scream!  I am not in a good mood.  Maybe my run will give me some well needed endorphins.  I might need to go out earlier than noon!

I had a fairly productive evening last night working on the socks.  I think I'm about half way through the leg.  I should measure tonight before I go much further.  I decided that I want to use that gorgeous Debbie Bliss Fez yarn to make the Mariah hoodie from Knitty.   I'm not sure yet if I want to do the zipper.  I think I do.  I don't have much luck with button holes and the zipper gives it a nice finished look.  I'll just have to borrow someone's sewing machine since I had to give mine away when I moved.  It was clunky anyway.  I'd like a new light one but seriously, I so rarely sew that it's not a necessity.

Rain today but it's still nice and mild.  I hope it holds off for my run.  I don't want to take my brand new autographed Seahawks hat out into the rain!  I kept my old one here for that event.  As long as it's sprinkling I'll go out.  Pouring.  Nope.  I do need to find another race to have on the horizon.  I can't do the St. Paddy's Day Dash this year and I'm quite disappointed.  But I have volunteered to host a surprise birthday party on the 16th in my great room and I know that I will be in no shape to run four miles the next morning after that party.  So I need to find one in April.  Or May.  I'll look today.

27 February, 2013

Chaos plus

I worked from home yesterday amid the chaos.  I had a problem with my fridge and in case they had to switch it out, I had to be there.  The good news is that they did NOT have to move it, but I did lose some stuff in the freezer. 

It was kind of difficult to get much done in that mess, but I managed to keep my head above water and also to slowly get things in order.  The bookcases weren't too tough to put together and I managed to get all three done and by bedtime things were mostly in place.  Tonight I have to hang the rest of my pictures and then it is just the closet I need to deal with.  Despite my best efforts I still have things that need to be stored rather than in the top of my closet taking up valuable space that I could (and would) use for clothes and storing seasonal wardrobes.  So to that end I stopped in at the office to find out the situation regarding storage units there in the building.  The least expensive storage unit is $55 for 17 sq ft.  Ah.  That's maybe the size of a closet.  That is way too much money for that little bit of space.  So now Plan B - find a friend with a house who has a little bit of storage space they're willing to let me use. 

Tuesday  night I did a few rows and again last night a few more on the Bamboo Socks.  Oh I am still really loving this yarn!  So soft!  And now that I have been able to unpack my stored yarn I am chomping at the bit to start a real project.  Meaning something I can wear other than a scarf or hat.  I rediscovered the silver grey yarn I bought for a hoodie and the lovely blue grey I bought for a cute Henley type shirt.  I would like to do the hoodie but I'm not sure about the particular pattern I had originally thought of doing.  I am going to double check the yardage I have and maybe find another pattern.  The one I had bookmarked is actually a pull over and I would like a cardigan hoodie.  It shouldn't be too difficult to find a pattern for that.

Noon knitting today and good thing too because I am still sore from the move Saturday and moving and building furniture Sunday and last night.  My run on Monday wasn't great but I think I will have a good one tomorrow.

It is warming up.  It's going to be nearly 60 this week.  And I noticed this morning that it is light - much lighter.  I guess I haven't really noticed how much lighter since it's been so cloudy lately.  Oh but spring is in the air!!

25 February, 2013

Living in chaos again!

Zoom!  There went the weekend!  Friday I went right to the mall to get my nails done because I had too much to do before the party on Saturday evening.  But one thing led to another and I ended up stopping by a party at the apartment complex.  So 7 o'clock Saturday morning was NOT a fun time to be up and around.

I had to help with this move, since I had been helped by this same gang so off I went to tote and generally be miserable.  Ah, but I did it with a smile.  And really it wasn't so bad at all.  I got home with time to have an hour lay down before I had to clean out the two wall units that were being picked up.  That was easy but now every surface in the place is covered with things that were in the wall units.  Those things include yarn and needles and books and magazines and all my pretty bowls and little arty things that can't be hung.  Big mess.

Saturday night was the fun silent auction event, which wasn't quite so fun as the one last year.  Last year the food was set out in a buffet and it was all finger food.  This year they had waiters circulating with things that mostly had to be eaten with a spoon or fork!  Very awkward.  And I couldn't get close to the blackjack table, where I cleaned up last year.  But it was pleasant and I got to chat with some friends and drink some nice wine and I got an autographed Seahawks hat, which I sorely need because my running hat is a mess.  It was good.

I found someone to take my dresser - it went to the new house I had moved my friend into on Saturday.  So that further messed up my place because all the clothes in that dresser had to be taken out, obviously.  Where to put them?  On the bed of course.  Then it was off to Ikea [Oh, someday I would love to be able to purchase furniture that I don't have to put together].  I got a new chest of drawers, new wall unit and TV stand and three tall narrow bookcases.  The chest of drawers and the wall unit and TV stand were finally finished up by 7 last night.  The bookcases I will start on tonight.  Oh but it is lovely to be able to actually move around in that bedroom!  Little by little this week I will be able to get things put away and the rest of my art hung.  And THEN the place will be perfect.  But for the next few days - chaos reigns.

22 February, 2013

A storm is coming in

As mild as it has been this winter, it looks like we're going to get a bit of a blow here pretty soon.  When I went out for my run yesterday it was quite breezy.  I had to run into the wind, which I hate, but at least it wasn't raining.  It is blowing quite steadily this morning but only misting.  I am hoping it will stay like this so I can run at lunchtime.  I most certainly won't be going out of it is storming.  Not worth it.

I have a busy weekend coming up so I've been laying low this week, marshaling my energy.  Tonight I have to empty my wall units since they are going away tomorrow afternoon.  Yay!!  Tomorrow morning early I'm going to help one of the friends who assisted in my move.   Good news is that however the move is going, I have to be home by 3 to meet the people picking up the wall units, plus I need some time to rest and get ready for the fun charity auction event.  I tried on the dress I want to wear tonight and hooray -- it fits.  I've been quite the sloth lately so I wasn't sure.  I guess I'm not as bad off as I thought.  Well, that means I have to go to get my manicure and pedicure tonight after work.  Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day.

The socks are coming along great.  I meant to snap a picture last night but ... well, I haven't been very good about posting FO's now have I?  I have recently finished a wrap and two hats.  I'll post pictures.  Maybe next week.

I am going to be tired Monday.  I have all my running around to do on Sunday, not to mention going to get my new chest and wall unit and shelf unit.  Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it.

21 February, 2013

No willpower.

None at all, when it comes to starting a new project.  Tuesday afternoon was lovely and I decided I wanted to start a new pair of socks that evening, so I walked up to my LYS for some yarn.  I found the yummiest sock yarn ever!  It's plain - I didn't want a pattern - superwash merino with angora by Regia!  It is just gorgeous!  It's washable, but of course you can't put it in the dryer because of the angora content.  But who cares?  I never ever ever handwash my handknit socks and I have learned that most of them don't fare well in the dryer, so it's not a big deal to separate them out from the wet clothes and let them dry.  I found a pattern on Ravelry for relatively plain socks called Bamboo Socks by Lorraine Ehrlinger.  What I love about them is the leg, which is ribbed, but there are purl lines every few rows which mimic bamboo shoots.  So it keeps the leg, which is the most boring part, interesting but not too complicated for TV knitting.  And seriously I could never understand the intricate lace things that people get into with their socks.  Who the heck is going to notice?  It was difficult starting out because the yarn is rather slick and I have Addi circulars.  Metal needles and slick yarn make for a difficult start.  But I got it finally and last night nearly finished the first 20 row repeat.  These are going to be super soft and gorgeous socks.

I have decided that this is the weekend I'm going to get the new wall units and get my apartment, if not finished, then nearly so.  I do have a fancy party Saturday night, but I'll have Sunday to sleep in and then off to get the new stuff.  It will take me a while to get it together but hopefully I can get the current wall units out on Saturday or maybe even Friday night.  It's going to be messy for a few days but oh so nice when it's all done and I can move about in my teensie bedroom at least a little bit.

I'm going to run today.  I haven't been out for at least a week.  Let's hope the rain holds off.  I was going to sign up for the St. Paddy's Day Dash this year because our apartment complex is putting together a team and it would be lots of fun.  However, I have volunteered my great room for a surprise birthday party on March 16th, the day before the run.  I certainly will not want to get up early and run 4 miles - the St. Paddy's Day Dash is not a 5K.  So no matter.  I can find another run to sign up for in April, maybe after my little holiday.

Tuesday I left my iPad at work!  That is the first time I have done that since I got it and I was so mad at myself.  The positive side of that is that I actually started a book!  Of the four (yes 4!) new books I have laying around since Christmas, and perhaps earlier, I finally picked one up and of course, read far too late.  I didn't forget it last night though.  I don't suppose I shall do it again either.  That's the first time I keenly felt the lack of a car because if I had a car I would have driven back to work and fetched it.  I lived.  But lesson learned.

19 February, 2013

I can't play darts

Saturday evening I met up with some friends for happy hour and snacks.  The party continued and we all ended up playing darts.  But I don't play.  I hadn't in years and years and I never was any good anyway.  Needless to say I was not an asset to any team.  I think ... I think I may have gotten one number.  And we played two rounds!  As the evening went on and the alcohol consumption continued I got even worse, if that's possible.  I do remember hitting the wall with two out of my last three throws. 

It was a holiday weekend and I had taken Friday off anyway so I had a nice long break.  Friday my friend Robert and his new lady friend came over to give me a present he had gotten in India - a beautiful pink silk scarf.  I gave them bowls of my yummy potato leek soup and it was a big hit.  And then off they went.  I had no idea he had a new girlfriend.  Good for him.  He deserves it.  And he's taking her to Venice in a few months.  Lucky lady.

My apartment is still coming together - slowly slowly.  And no I haven't yet been able to get rid of the old wall units and dresser and that will be the final piece.  But I had a brainstorm and carried it out Friday night and I am SO happy with the result.  I had realized that putting my desk facing out was blocking the main source of fresh air, which is the sliding floor to ceiling window.  I had first thought that having my desk there would be awesome for working from home, but I don't do it enough.  The weather has been unseasonably warm - in the 50s - and the small window in the living area is not giving me the air movement I desire.  So I emptied the baker's rack and put the cook books on a different shelf I was saving for the books in the bedroom and got rid of it.  Then I moved the desk on that wall and put the little dining table in the space vacated by my desk.  Now it is much lighter, I can get to the windows more easily and open it a lot or a little.  It does make a huge difference in the amount of fresh air in the sleeping area.  I'm happy.  I am hoping by the end of this month I can have the other pieces in place and I can finally get the last few pieces of my art up and I'll have a little wiggle room in the sleeping area.  That will be super. 

I very much want to start a new knitting project and I just can't decide what to do!  I know I have a couple of projects ready in the cupboard.  I remember a cute Henley type T-shirt.  Hmm ... maybe I'll take a look at that tonight.  If memory serves I bought really yummy yarn for that.  And seriously, the weather is really getting warmer and I can see the buds on the trees and shrubs.  It looks like we're going straight into spring without any snow to speak of this winter.  So a short sleeved project would be perfect!

14 February, 2013

The difference a needle size can make

Happy Valentine's Day!  My favorite day of the year.  

I finished up a second Phoncible, this time switching out to a size 8 needle after the stranded band and that was perfect!  I now have the slouchy beret I was going for in the first place.  This hat is a wonderful way to use up the bits and bobs of Kureyon one may have laying around from other projects.  I don't know what to do with the first one.  I won't wear it now that I have a second that looks like what I wanted.  Hopefully I can find someone to take it.

I've been under the weather the past couple of days.  Nothing specific - a little sore throat, body aches, fatigue.  Luckily work hasn't been too terribly busy so I took the time.  I'm in today but I've got tomorrow marked off as a vacation day.  I have a lunch planned with a happy wanderer who is bringing me something from his trip to India.  Other than that, nothing special.  Doggie walks if it isn't too rainy.

I've got my April vacation hotels chosen.  One old and picturesque place in McMinneville and another more eclectic choice, a cabin in Lincoln City.  It looks quite eccentric but I hear that it's not bad and the breakfasts are very nice.  So - something different.  Now to get through the next 8 1/2 weeks.  Shouldn't be so bad. 

I have noticed buds on the shrubbery.  We might miss out on a real winter this year.  So far no snow to speak of and the temperatures are relatively mild.  Rain?  Oh yes, but that is SO much better than ice and snow.

11 February, 2013


That's the sound my weekend made.  Talk about jam packed.  I am still spinning.  Of course, I forgot to set my alarm so I've been running since 6:45, but that's another story.

Friday was a relatively quiet evening because Saturday (not Sunday, as it usually is) was race day.  This is the first time I've taken the bus to a race from this apartment and I cut it pretty darned close, I must admit.  But on the positive side, at least I wasn't standing around getting cold waiting for the start.  I got there, found my place and away we went.  I had forgotten to take in a little extra hydration at breakfast and since I got to the race late I didn't have time for my usual stretches so I got a cramp up the back of my left leg into my glut.  Ouch.  But I kept going and I did better than I thought I was going to.  Lately I've been right in the middle or lower of my age division, but this time I was higher - 19 out of 49.  That's decent. 

I wanted to get my nails done but after lunch I went to the salon and they were too busy for me so I had to skip it.  I got to have a 20 minute snooze and then I had to leave to Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna.  It was really something.  All except the clowns.  I don't like circus clowns and I particularly don't care for the European style clowning that they do.  Otherwise it was a spectacle.  Beautiful and entertaining. 

The Ballard Farmer's Market stays open all year 'round, so since it was beautiful and sunny on Sunday, that was my destination.  Met up with some friends and did a twice around all the stalls.  By the end of the first trip around I was carrying a bag that looked like the stereotypical Hollywood market bag - baguette and flowers sticking out of the top of it.  I bought some tulips and some incredible lamb ravioli and .. oh just tons of stuff.  Leeks for soup and mushrooms, cheese - although the guy who sold that wonderful aged goat cheese wasn't there and I was looking forward to that. 

I did finally get my nails done Sunday early afternoon and then enjoyed a nice long lunch.  A nap would have been nice but it was getting late so I finally took advantage of the free movie passes I get each month and went to see "Identify Theft".  It was cute.  Light fare.  Nothing to strain the brain. 

I cooked up that lamb ravioli and braised some green I got, but I did something wrong and they didn't taste nearly so nice as the last time I did it.  And then I got my relaxing time.  An hour or so watching stupid TV and knitting on my hat.  This is much more colorful than the last and I am really happy with the floppiness of the crown.

I woke up with a sore throat on Sunday.  Still fighting it.  I took Nyquil last night and slept decently.  Maybe I will be able to hold it off again.

08 February, 2013

Tried and true

The cure for the February blues?  A plan.  That's right - a plan!  It came to me yesterday.  It was sunny and cold and I had quite a decent run, so I know the race tomorrow won't be a total bust. I won't be breaking any records, but it should be fun.  Anyway a good run and sunshine always brighten my spirits and that's when I realized that all I need to get myself through the rest of this winter is a plan.  I'm thinking an 8 week plan with a little holiday at the end of it.   That's a short enough time to keep me engaged, a long enough time to get rid of my winter flab and get back into my nice jeans, and then spring will be in the air! Yay!  I'll put a few more details together maybe this afternoon while I'm copying an exam - something to help me through that mind numbing process.  And definitely this weekend.  By Monday I should be ready to book some hotels.  I am thinking about a road trip to Oregon for some wine tasting with maybe a stop on the coast for a night or two.  It sounds weird, but Oregon wineries are awesome!  And it is extremely beautiful there in the hills.  It reminds me of France in Burgundy, which is the same latitude I believe.  Is it Burgundy?  Or .. well, anyway it's a fun trip and there are some quite good restaurants down there as well.  So - something to dream about and plan about and get me through this darkness of body and spirit. 

I wish I could figure out what it is that causes Tinkerbell to have a restless night.  The thing is that she has a routine that is practically carved in stone.  She has her inner clock and at 7 o'clock she lets me know it's time to go outside and at 8 or 8:30 she wants to be in bed.  Even if I'm just quietly reading or knitting she wants to be ON the bed, not laying next to me on the couch.  Then most nights she'll sleep just fine.  But last night she was on and off the bed at least 3 times, maybe four.  And that, my friends, makes for a very bad night for me.  I am so groggy.  I've got to get a good night's rest tonight so maybe I'll make her play ball for a little longer and make sure she's good and tired. 

I finished the band and started on the body of the hat last night, changing to size 8 needles rather than size 7.  It seems to be making a difference and I think this one will definitely be floppier, which is what we're going for.  Then I think I might pick up one of my unfinished projects and do some finishing.  No, really!  I have two projects that come to mind.  One I have all the pieces made and it just needs to be sewn together - a little top that I think would be good for these temperatures.  Then there's the Cloisonne jacket, which I only  need to finish the facing and sew in on.  Probably an hour's work.  Yes.  I will finish one or the other.

07 February, 2013

Tempests in tea cups

Where do you stand?  Love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Yeah, me too.  My sister and I were on vacation a couple of years ago and both of us at some point(s) during our holiday were either reading or responding to work email.  Work is with us everywhere now days and one must consciously NOT look at work email or respond to it.  So last night - I can't help myself - I checked my work email before turning out the light and lo and behold there's a storm a brewin'.  Seems that the mid-term answer key had an incorrect answer.  The answer key for an exam that was given last week, by the way.  The professor hadn't looked at her item analysis.  If she had she would have noticed right off the bat that most of the class missed a certain question and could have nipped it in the bud.  As it was, the students figured it out.  Now, this is really a non-issue.  It happens.  Sometimes it is because of a  human error filling out the key, sometimes it is a bad question that needs to be thrown out.  The point is, it's a simple fix.  But everybody was going crazy last night and I made the mistake of reading it.  It's already - here it is 8:32 am - it's already being re-scored.  But my night was not restful.  When will I ever learn?  Well, we know the answer to that question, don't we?

I am NOT in a good mood.  I am disappointed that I'm not having good lunchtime runs, for one thing.  I guess I should just shake it off.  It happens sometimes, just like it happens when I all of a sudden start having super fast and great runs.  I'll have fun at the race Saturday but it is ever so much more fun when I know I'll be fast.  You know - relatively fast.  The shirts are really great this year though.  That's a good thing.

I think I need to plan something before March.  Definitely.  I need a mini-vacation.

06 February, 2013

He went the wrong way!

This has never happened to me before - of course I haven't been riding the bus to work for that long - the driver took a wrong turn!  Or rather, did not turn at all when he should have.  It took him nearly 10 minutes to get turned around and back on track.  Crazy.

I had a most disappointing and terrible run yesterday at lunch.  I don't know why, except I wasn't feeling 100%, with a sinus headache.  I can't run today so I've only got two more days to get it together, because Saturday is the race.  I left work early and went home and had a nice sleep.  I will count on good training sessions Thursday and Friday.

I've downloaded a new audiobook and I am hoping it'll help my state of mind - my February state of mind.  I have GOT to nail down a vacation sometime soon.  I need something to plan for, something with a large sunshine and warmth component.

Noon knitting today and I've brought in three things to show - my completed chunky cowl, the Argosy Wrap and my first Phoncible.  I did a little more on the second one last night and brought that in to work on.

Oh dear -- I've got a meeting soon and I need some food.

05 February, 2013

Right on schedule

The February blues.  There is a reason I always ... almost always ... plan a vacation for March or April, and that's the February blues.  Yesterday it descended with a vengeance.  Not helped in the least by the music I was listening to, which can kick you in gut as surely as a scent.  I finished my audiobook and haven't yet downloaded a new one.  So yes, I'm trying to keep my music as neutral as I can and I'll get a new book on my iPhone soon. 

Work is busy and we're shorthanded.  Since I've moved into an office in the main office suite I am called upon to do a few housekeeping things when we're shorthanded.  No disasters so far, thank goodness.  People are aware of my lack of familiarity with these things and give me simple commands - "turn off the coffee maker in the break room" - like that.  I can do that! 

I washed the Argosy Wrap last night and brought out my mats to block it on, but it's too long to have them two abreast and it flops over the sides with just one block, but that's what I had to do.  So I'm not pinning out the ends but it's drying just fine so I think it'll look good when it's dry.  I also walked up to get another skein of Kureyon and started another hat last night.  I only got a couple of rows in because of phone calls and dog walks and dinner.  I can work on it more tonight.  It's great TV knitting.

I had an early meeting this morning and another meeting tomorrow after the monthly curriculum meeting, all starting the planning for Anatomy, which starts September 2nd this year.  I know -- 7  months in advance -- but it's that complicated, getting the schedule set and everyone on the same page.  Plus we're making changes this year.  Wheeee ....

I feel like I have a bag over my head.  We need sunshine.  I need sunshine.

04 February, 2013

Another cute hat

I've been on a roll -- I finished another project. This time a hat.  Because I had left over re-claimed Kureyon, now that the Argosy Wrap is finished, I looked for a hat to make and found Phoncible, which totally fit the bill.   I cast on for it Friday evening and by the third quarter of the Super Bowl I had it finished.  It is SO cute and I actually wore it to walk Tink last night.  I rarely wear knitted ski or watch caps, but if the hat is more like a beret I do indeed wear them.  This is floppy beret-type hat and nice and warm.  I am sorely tempted to pop up to Weaving Works at lunchtime today to purchase another ball of Kureyon and get another one on the needles.  I know I have enough of one colorway but I need a contrasting one.  Maybe this time something a bit brighter than the shades in my first version.  It is perfect TV knitting.  Or, as was the case with me, hanging out and drinking and chatting knitting. 

Of course I should be running today, since I've got a race this coming weekend, but one thing led to another and I didn't get my running clothes laundered so .. I'll take a nice brisk walk and call it good.  I know this is going to be a slow race.  I'll have fun and that's all that counts. 

The Super Bowl was a close game, which is always nice.  The bad part was that the power went out during the game, right after half time, so that added more than 30 minutes onto it.  I was just fried by the time I got home and there was absolutely no way I was going to do laundry.  I barely made it through a shower before I crashed.  Tink was wiped out as well.  There was another dog at the party.  She is small - I can't remember what kind but maybe Pomeranian - and she tolerates Tink.  She won't play, but neither does she attack.  Although she did get a little put out when she found Tinkerbell playing with one of her toys.  Tink was happy getting everyone to scratch her belly. 

I noticed this weekend that it is noticeably lighter around 5 o'clock now.  IF it's clear, which it was Friday evening.  February and March are always such hard months for me.  Plod on.

01 February, 2013


Oh it is done!  I finally finished that Argosy Wrap.  I have no pictures today though because I do want to block it.  As it is, unblocked, it's 90 inches long, so I'm not going to be trying for any more length, but rather pinning out the edges.  Will I use it?  Maybe.  It's striking, that's for sure.  But I wouldn't call it pretty actually.  As for my next project -- still up in the air, although now that I have all that recaptured Kureyon I may do a little slouchy hat if I can find the pattern again.

For the first time last night I was having trouble with noise.  I am harboring no illusions that it's going to be quiet once the weather changes and people are able to sit outside in the plaza.  I know I'm going to get some good ear plugs at that point and I don't expect it to be too troublesome until the weekend.  But last night people were coming out of the theatre, late, and it sounded like a group of them stood in the cover of the theatre and talked and laughed for about an hour.  I could be misremembering because I was awakened twice so maybe it wasn't the same group of people.  I know I woke at 11 and again at 12:30.  I can't imagine a movie getting out that late though ... hmmm .. I'm going to do a little more checking on that.  But I was not happy.  And that's with only one little window open.  When it gets warmer I'm going to have to open the larger floor to ceiling window.  I don't call it a door because it opened onto a Juliet balcony, which is no balcony at all, but gives the appearance from the street.  It will, however, get me some much needed fresh air in the warmer weather.

This has been a busy busy week and I'm certainly ready for the weekend.  Super Bowl party on Sunday should be fun.  And I'm helping a friend with a huge remodel, so Saturday will be spent, part of the day, freely giving my opinions.  That's always fun, isn't it?  Well, rarely do I get paid for them.

I had a nice run yesterday, strong and much faster than Tuesday.  I am looking forward to another one today.  The rain has gone and I saw some blue sky.  Fingers crossed - it looks like we have skipped winter, at least down here for now.  It's quite mild today.  The mountains have been getting lots and lots of snow.  That's where it belongs.