Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ten Days

I got no packing done today. Sad, but true.

However, we did get to the eye doctor for our annual check ups which is good because we won't have vision insurance for the duration. I was able to get some antibiotics for my eyes. Both are infected from the cold. Also sad, but true. And I am truly thankful for modern medicine.

Tomorrow we are off to the new house again to do three days of painting. Lots and lots to do. We will drive up Highway 1 through Malibu and this will be our view.
South view from Point Mugu

Point Mugu

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beginning the Count Down

We are moving in 11 days.

There are boxes everywhere. Yesterday I figured out that I had to pack up one room a day to be ready to move on the 7th. Two bathrooms, three bedrooms, center hallway that includes the laundry, living room, dining room and kitchen. I counted the days we'll be gone up to the new house to finish painting and realized I was in no way prepared for this move. Well, I still had the boxes, paper and bubble wrap, but almost nothing was packed.

Yesterday I packed six book boxes. Which is all I could do because I have been sick for a week with a cold and cough. I would pack a box, sit and rest, get up and pack another box. By the end of the day I had a total of nine boxes of books packed. Which was less than half our books.

This morning I tackled the books again and emptied all the book shelves. All that's left of the books are a few strays here and there, probably one box worth, that we are still reading.

This afternoon, two friends came to help me pack dishes. This too was a major issue. I have a lot of good dishes and tea cups that I inherited from my mom and grandmas. Seven boxes of them. As I say, "I never saw a dish I didn't like." What a blessing to have friends to help me!

Tomorrow--eye doctor appointments in the morning, empty the two back bedroom closets, small group in the evening, drive to Camarillo so we can get an early start on painting on Friday.

I'd really rather be sitting here, enjoying the solitude.

I'm still coughing but at least I'm not running a fever tonight. I just don't have time to be sick.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Descanso Gardens, Part II

Descanso Gardens has interesting architectural details in odd little places. This gate was at the back of the original owners' house. A gate is a gate, but this gate is a piece of art.

The courtyard at the entrance provided tables and chairs for resting and consuming the various culinary options. The lanterns nestled among the beams and bamboo.

In the house garden,
the beauty of back lighted leaves.

Oak leaf

Mantilla poppies grow very tall. We saw a mantilla poppy in Camarillo and didn't know what it was, other than it was almost certainly from the poppy family. It was just there in a neighbor's front garden, blooming all by itself in its considerable glory. We found this one at the gardens and I was pleased to identify it.

This Jeffrey pine tree is for my son in law Jeff--a tree named after him, or is he named after the tree?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Southern California Gardening at Its Best

Saturday afternoon, to celebrate Father's Day, John, Mia and I went to Descanso Gardens in LaCanada-Flintridge, one of the five major gardens in the Los Angeles metro area. It has a more natural habitat feel and look to it than Huntington Library and Garden or South Coast Botanical Gardens. The photo above reminds me of an Impressionist painting of the French Riviera countryside. That's not so surprising when you remember that Southern California has a Mediterranean climate.

You can see that off the walkways and trails, the grounds are kept more or less "native" California. There were groves of California Live Oak with palm trees thrown in. John prefers the natural, low water look of this habitat.

There are various gardens including the cactus garden, camellia garden and rose garden. Of course, Mia and I patiently walked through the other areas with John, but when we got to the rose garden, we went wild. All those roses! All those colors and fragrances!

The rose garden is quite extensive. We walked through only a portion of it. It reminded me of Kew Gardens, Mottisfont Abbey, Exposition Park, and Portland's Rose Garden all combined in one garden. The beds laid out in patterns reminded me of Exposition Park in Los Angeles and the Portland Rose Garden. The trellises were like the ones at Mottisfont Abbey (Southern England). The sweeping rose filled vistas looked like Kew Gardens (London).

The yellow and orange roses celebrate Mia's current orange period.

The garden has its wild side. Posted signs warn of rattlesnakes and scary plants. This is poison oak. There was protective wire fencing around it to keep people out, but you can see how effective it was in keeping the poison oak in.

Come back tomorrow for more of Descanso Gardens!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Of course, this is my favorite friend. He's having a birthday next week.

Whenever Dorothy and I have birthdays, we plan and plan and schedule and reschedule our birthday dinners and treat each other. We don't have to celebrate in our birthday months, we just do it whenever the mood strikes us. We celebrated her December birthday in March and my March birthday last week in June. Here she is at this great little restaurant Tender Greens in Culver City. We had a wonderful lunch and spent a couple of hours together. I told her I wanted to go to Tender Greens because the mashed potatoes are better than mine. If you order a hot plate you get an enormous salad of your choice, the mashed potatoes, chicken, beef, tuna, or grilled veggies, and a slice of yummy bread. I ordered the beef and she chose tuna. Dorothy always makes me laugh. We can talk and talk and our conversations can cover the most bizarre topics and we think we're just normal.

We have very special friends who are our walking buddies.
John and John

Kristie and I have been buddies for three years. We have logged a lot of miles on this stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline. We pick up our Starbuck's drink and set out for our 5K walk. That's Manhattan Beach Pier in the background. This evening, John, John, Kristie and I did our walk and then added a walk out along the pier.

We won't be living so very far away when we move, and we will still celebrate birthdays and Dorothy will still come for Christmas and we will find ways and times to take our walks.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Eat Blueberries!

At the Gerry Ranch we love to pick oranges and lemons. And blueberries.

The lemon trees are going away.

The blueberry fields are coming along.

Eat blueberries. Please. For your health and for the Gerry's.

Fortunately, these aren't going away.

Or these.

Blueberries. Please.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Why I Need To Learn To Use Photoshop

I like this photo of Deb. She looks like a model or celeb. But what is Chaplain Dan doing in the background? Or the guy with the camera and tripod? Or the man in black back there against the white picket fence?

On the ride up to Visalia and back down (3 hours minimum each way; on the way home we hit Friday night Los Angeles freeway traffic), I knitted on the Cashsoft sweater. I am combining two patterns. I'm using the edging from one pattern, Ladies' Anthracite Jacket, from a small book titled Inspiration published by Schachenmayr nomotta. I have no memory of where I bought the book, just remember knitting up the sweater in navy alpaca/cotton blend I bought from a sale bin at Woodland Woolworks in Carlton, Oregon, so that dates it before 2000. I know I wore the sweater to a memorial service for two people we knew who died on the plane that crashed in Sumatra, Indonesia and Mike and Mia were with us so it had to be before Fall 1999 when Mike left for college. Weird how our minds remember things. I remember because I was really, really hot in that sweater in the room with so many people. The rest of the basic sweater pattern I'm adapting from a Sirdar pattern, Legend. I finished the right front and have five inches of the left front finished. I also cast on and did the edging for the back because I had the size 3 needles just sitting there waiting to be used again. Most of the body of the sweater is stockinette, which gets as boring as riding down Hwy 99 through the Central Valley when the temperature is 108.

This is just the yummiest yarn to knit. It's soft and slides off the needles so smoothly, doesn't split, and if it gets a tangle, it comes undone easily, as easily as an Elven rope. I'm thinking a cable sweater would be great done in this yarn. Not the TKGA Aran sweater, though; I want to enjoy the Cashsoft, not make it work so hard for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Results Are In

I received the TKGA Level 3 submission back this afternoon. I knew it was coming because one of the co chair people emailed me over the weekend and asked me to verify the date I received the instructions. I was able to tell her the date on the packing slip from TKGA and verify I had done the work and returned the submission in under a year. When John brought in the box, I knew what it was and I didn't open it for at least two hours. I had to go to the middle school and pull out a student for testing and then when I got back I just sat and stared at it for a while. I really didn't want to ruin my day which had been a good one, watching two of my second grade students from Watts graduate from fifth grade.

So, I didn't pass everything. No one ever has passed Level 3 the first time. I passed 12 of 18 swatches, but I will have to resubmit those swatches, one of which is the cursed entrelac,

and I have to resubmit a pattern for another one. Some of these swatches weren't accepted because I knitted them following the directions LEFT HANDED so the work is backwards. In levels one and two, my work was accepted as knitted LEFT HANDED. I passed six of the eight questions; one was wrong and one was too vague.

My magazine reviews were both accepted. In fact, I got rave reviews on my reviews. "One committee member commented that the review made her wonder why she had canceled her subscription." AND "Very nice review. Engaging discussion of the magazine."
The two reports were accepted as well.

I have to resubmit different book reviews because I need to review DESIGN books, not PATTERN books.

The hat was accepted but I have to resubmit its pattern.

The sweater - my sweet white cables and bobbles sweater - "falls short of meeting the expectations for a Level 3 project." I guess my hurrying through it to get finished in the time frame showed. But Olivia got kudos: "All of the members of this committee want to ask you to tell your young model that we think she is a lovely young lady and this sweater is perfect for her. She brightened our day!"

Overall, the results were better than I had feared but worse than I had hoped. I am glad that "the overall quality of your written work is excellent. You write very well and have an engaging style. Nice work. Your material was well organized and professionally presented. All committee members want you to know that it was a pleasure to review your work." Maybe the committee writes that to everyone, I don't know, but it did make me feel better because I do know that I am a good writer, I did organize and present the submission in a professional way.
So. Now. I'm going to put it all away for a little while, a few days, and then go back and look at the details. What with the end of school on Friday, a week of teacher end of year work, a trip to Visalia for a funeral, a move to plan and execute, I just can't face a new challenge for a week or two.

But now I know the worst. And it could have been worse.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wonderful Wedding Weekend

We attended a family wedding in the Walnut Grove at the Tierra Rejada Ranch on Saturday afternoon. The bride is our niece. Congratulations, Mike and Becky!

All the cousins and spouses were there except JR and Jeff. Dan is hidden behind the groom. I know the photo is dark but I don't have time to mess with it today.

The sun was shining through the walnut trees and so the sunglasses were out in full force.

Dan and Jennifer

Tim and Mia

Deb and Jen

Mike and Deb

John and I don't wear sunglasses, so we didn't get into the celebrity line up. I was sooo good, I didn't even take any knitting!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Distracting Sheep

This is not my new house. Don't I wish it was! Doors Cottage is a B&B in Haltwhistle, Northumberland. We stayed here just inside that white door. I loved this little side garden. My garden in Camarillo will, of course, be a Mediterranean garden because Ventura County has a Mediterranean climate. I will sneak in some English cottage plants, though. Roses and lavender.

Sheep to distract you...a lovely unshorn specimen on the rugged unshorn hills of Northumberland near Hadrian's Wall.

One of the few sheep that let me get a close up. Usually the sheep would see me coming, pose nicely as I adjusted my lens for close up, lighting, focus, and then just as I was snapping, they would turn their backs on me. They wouldn't usually move away, just turn away. I wonder if somewhere along the line, sheep were crossed with cats.

And now you know. I dream of the day we can return to England for another visit. I spent only 15 days there, but I know that my blood still runs English even after all those generations.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


No, this isn't about wool, yarn, spinning or knitting.

I'm sheepish because I again didn't take any photos. So sorry! Really I am. Blame it on the 2 1/2 hours we spent at the car repair shop waiting for the Focus to be towed there. We are getting a second car after being a one car family for 4 1/2 years. All the second car needs is a new engine (in this case, a rebuilt one). We have found out where the closest hardware store is and it is of upmost importance to make a good first impression there so we were on our best behavior and properly attired as we got sets of keys made, looked at trowels, and chose our hasp for the shed. We did clean the bathrooms (yeah, I know, tmi) and I repapered most of the kitchen drawers and cupboards. The former owner was fond of flowers (pro) and used bright flowered contact paper on every drawer and cupboard in the house (con).

We will be back up in Camarillo for the weekend. I PROMISE, I GUARANTEE, that I'll have photos.

Oh, and I planted out two tomato plants (one Jubilee and one White "something") from Martha and six basil plants.

In an effort to distract you from your disappointment in not having photos of the house, here is a little something, something.

Farmhouse in Northumberland near Hadrian's Wall, England

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Trip

We are going up to the new house this afternoon and staying overnight. Since we have no furniture there, we're taking our camping gear and we'll be sleeping on our pads in our sleeping bags. Roughing it.

The purpose of the trip is to do some cleaning, a few repairs and take items that will make our weekend visit more comfortable. Becky's wedding is this weekend, just a few miles away so various groups will be stopping by to visit and sleep.

List of items to remember, including but not limited to:

sleeping bags
sleeping pads
a few plants
winter clothes
cleaning supplies

Will I remember to take pictures? I'll try.

Our weather today has been gray and definitely June Gloom. Everyone is back in sweaters.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sneak Preview

When we went up to the new house to do a buyer's walk through I pulled out my camera and shot some photos mostly to check on paint colors and counter tops. The first two pictures are of the kitchen. I do love a nice big kitchen with plenty of cupboards and counter space.

This is the living room. We will definitely be painting over the peachy colors in the house. I especially like the living room. It's light and open and has big windows.

Our new sofa and chairs will go in this room.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Fine Day for a Wedding

We met Tim and Mia at Laura and David Chavez's wedding this afternoon. We were actually a little bit late because, Los Angeles being Los Angeles, there was slow traffic on the 110 South because of a four car accident. We could see the four cars, the fire trucks and police cars in front of us, we were that close, but it took awhile to get around them. But we got there for the important parts.

When you're a bridesmaid, you have to be in a lot of pictures.
Be right back, mumsy...

After blowing bubbles at the wedding couple and following them back to the bride's house to pick up Tim and Mia's stuff, we went to, you guessed it, Starbuck's to hang out and talk for an hour before they left for Chula Vista and we came back up to LA.
I finished the last round on Tim's blanket while we were there and presented it to him. He's a happy boy with his own, new afghan!

Another Finished Object

You can see the FO in a minute. First look at this cute guy. Son #2. We had dinner the other night at a great French bakery across the street from his apartment in Culver City. The food really is excellent; nothing beats the chocolate hazelnut mousse with a cappuccino for dessert. The service is always the best too, but sometimes I wonder if it's because we're with him and the cute waitresses think up excuses to come by our table.

We are going to a wedding this afternoon in Huntington Beach. Mia is a bridesmaid so we will be sitting with Tim. Mia's college roommate Laura is marrying her sweetheart David at 2pm. Congratulations to them!
I have been crocheting and stitching on Tim's afghan this week in hopes of finishing it and giving it to him today since his birthday was Wednesday. Mia knitted all 48 of the blocks and I crocheted the edging and stitched the blocks together. Last night I finished one round of single crochet around the whole afghan, but I think it needs a second round, so I will crochet on the way down to the wedding.
Yes, the photo looks like it's backwards, but it's not. I really do crochet and knit left handed.

The yarn is WoolEase worsted weight. Guys need washable and dryable afghans.