Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Twenty-One Years Ago Today

July 31, 1986.
At the mountain mission station hospital at Mulia, in the middle of the jungles of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, our fourth baby, a beautiful little girl with a rosebud mouth, was born.

Happy Birthday, Mama Mia!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Lovely Day in Paradise

The weather has been lovely today. Blue sky. No clouds. Gentle breeze. We took a two mile walk to the library and back. I checked out a Meg Swanson knitting design book and two Dick Francis novels. I'm hoping the design book will work for one of the reviews I need to do for the TKGA certification. We've spent most of the rest of the time reading and relaxing. I just love Mediterranean climate weather.

Now it is time to fix dinner and get ready to go to my Precepts class. Today is a friend's birthday and she will be there, so I will need to grab a birthday card. After ravioli and a salad, I will hop in the car and only have to drive a couple of miles to class.

News flash: my bro and sil are coming for a visit! Yeah! They haven't seen our home in Camarillo so they are going to drive down in September to see us! Having a date when they are visiting gives me a goal to shoot for to have the whole house set up. I had been thinking I want everything set up and running smoothly by the time school starts (if I get the school job) and now I have a second reason to set a date in early September. It will be so much fun to share our new home and new community with them.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dyeing Wool

As promised, I have photos of the dyeing with Koolaid process. I dyed the wool last night and gave it to the hostess of our class this morning. I am always amazed that wool, water, Koolaid, and heat can produce such a lovely thing as softly colored wool. My microwave is old and so it took about twelve minutes to dye this sheep's wool.
Start with natural colored roving, batting, or spun yarn. This is wool that I picked clean and scoured (washed), dried and paid someone to card into roving. Carding means to brush all the hairs going in the same direction while removing the tangles. Roving refers to the way the fiber looks after it's carded. Roving is a long string of fiber, rolled up in a ball.

Pull enough of the roving off the ball to fill a two quart microwaveable bowl.

Mix two packets of unsweetened Koolaid into seven to eight cups of water.
I used Black Cherry last night. I have also dyed with Strawberry Kiwi, Berry Blast, Lemonade, Limeade, and Grape.

Place the loosely rolled wool in the Koolaid, pushing it down gently and making sure that the wool becomes thoroughly soaked.
Put the whole concoction in the microwave. Shut the door. Time: five minutes. Temperature: high. Repeat if necessary until all or almost all of the color has disappeared from the water and has been absorbed by the wool.

The result is a lovely rose shaded wool fiber, with a lightly variegated look.

Don't your hands just itch to grab it and spin it up into a lovely heather yarn?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Writing Class

I am half finished with the class. The focus is on teaching students to have better writing skills. There is so much material that I am seriously overwhelmed. I remember feeling this same overwhelmed sensation when I studied Slingerland reading and writing methods. It takes a while to synthesize the information. I think, though, that the material will be very helpful in my teaching and tutoring. Even little ones and students who are English language learners can benefit from the new ideas. I'm excited to think of ways to incorporate what I am learning into my classes.

Thank you, Debbie, for the information about washers. We will seriously investigate your recommendations. We, too, are looking for ways to reduce water and natural gas usage. The CCRs of our HOA prohibit our drying our laundry outside. I am pondering methods to get around this, such as drying clothing in the back room windows and using a screen in the breezeway between our house and the shed. I hate the thought of wasting all the sunshine and dry weather. Where did you find the washer?

We had a lunchtime conversation about fiber, specifically felting. One of the women noticed my felted bag and asked if I had made it. It turns out that two of the ladies have done needle felting and wet felting. I asked if they had ever dyed wool. I explained how you can dye wool in the microwave using koolaid! They had never heard of that. I am going to dye up a little bit of my fiber stash to show them.

Here they are! These cute kids' caps are for LA. I knitted one and concluded that it was too small, so I made another one a bit larger.

It is not easy to photograph brown caps against a teak table at night.

Posing your cap against a lighter wood grain background in the morning makes for a clearer photograph.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


As in Redondo Beach.

We arrived at the house, but the kitty slept all day! So we went out and had lunch with Mike and went to see his new adobe--a studio apt in Hermosa Beach. It needs to be painted--lose the lavender/pink and put on white, which is what John and Mike are going to do tomorrow. Not me. I'm taking a writing class tomorrow and Saturday.

There won't be much knitting getting done until Sunday or Monday because of the class. I did do the finish work on the hats I made for LA. I made two different sizes and now I am writing down the patterns. Photos tomorrow, I hope.

A friend of mine is leaving for Bolivia on Sunday to go teach second grade for a year or two. Isn't modern technology amazing==we will still be able to communicate via email, blog/xanga, skype or yahoo messenger. Bon voyage, Rea, and have a great year!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick Update

Last night I went to the lcs (local coffee shop) where the knitting group meets. My first time! I am really happy to have found a group so quickly after all the years in Los Angeles when I knitted alone. One of the knitters is an expert in entrelac. I watched her and she advised me on my pick up technique which is what the TKGA committee didn't like on my swatch.
I have packed my knitting in one box and all the papers I need to do through in another box to take with us on our kitty sitting adventure. This is supposed to be a vacation of sorts and knitting anywhere, anytime is a vacation for me.
The back of the house is cleaned up. I had to jump up and down in the yard debris barrel to get everything in, but I did it. Thanks to Debbie for the compost recipe. I shall surely use it! And thanks to Martha for bringing me a bucket of her very own compost to put on my tomato plants. Before we take off I hope to get the compost down and a strip of Cory's Snail and Slug Bait around the whole area. Usually I am careful about not putting chemicals in my garden, but, people, I can't stand snails and slugs, so I make an exemption for snail bait.
We have determined that our washing machine will cost too much to repair when one compares the price of a new one to the price of the repair parts. So we will be looking at washing machines to purchase. We are also going to buy an air filtering machine to help purify the air and get rid of the under the house musty odor. Sigh. I'll be happy to have a new washer and cleaner air, so I shouldn't complain about the expense. AND our vacuum cleaner quit on us. BUT our handyman Denny had an old one he doesn't use so he is letting us use it. What a great handyman, huh?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Box Count Down and Garden Pull Out

Today I unpacked six more boxes, four of photo frames and two of sewing supplies. All that is left are the five photo album boxes, two boxes of the cedar chest contents (which will be placed back in the cedar chest after I refinish it), a box of computer gadgets, a box of Indonesian curios and one box of John's stuff. Not bad--we're really coming along.

This afternoon I went out in the back and PULLED out overgrown plants. I guess I should have worn gloves because now my hands are red and sore.

You can see below how much of the back ledge I've cleared now,

and how much I have left to do. The ivy and honeysuckle are alive and well.

This little cutie is a leftover from the former owners. I don't much like cupids or cherubs, but, Roxie, you can swing by here any time you want and pick it up since you do like them.

This birdbath is also a leftover. I may keep it if I can make it stable and upright and I'll move the bunny to the patio.

The Temple Flame bouggainvillea seems to be happy by the front steps.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Kitty Sitting

We are going to be playing with this sweetie for the next couple of weeks.

We get to relax a little bit and enjoy our kitty and read books and take walks. And knit.

I will be working on the TKGA certification. I will keep you posted.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First Home Post

We now have internet at home!

Last night we moved furniture and boxes around outside and in and the place is finally starting to look lived in rather than stored in. There are now only three items of furniture out in the front porch area--two bookcases and one desk hutch. The back still looks a total messs--painting supplies and painted doors, a for sale fridge (wanna buy it?), washer, dryer, two bikes.

But I have internet!

Today I'm chasing the application for PVSD. I'm not sanguine about my chances of getting the job. I have all the experience in the world, but I don't have the "papers" to prove it.
But when you have beautiful flowers around, life is still good!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Crazy Days

I am in the midst of applying for jobs as well as settling in to our new home. Crazy! I'm having to run back and forth to Palermo Coffee to use the internet and then be back at home to print things off. I am definitely looking forward to having a working internet connection at home!

A really bright spot! There is an informal knitting group that meets at Palermo Coffee on Tuesday nights! Yeah! And there is also a group that meets at a lys in Ventura on Thursday nights. I'm going to have to check them both out!

Monday, July 16, 2007


Here I am again in Palermo Coffee, using their internet connection because it will be up to a week before we get our internet hooked up.
Our trip to Santa Barbara on Friday really was lovely. Back in the 70s John had this uncanny ability to find a Sambo's Restaurant anywhere he drove. He likes to eat breakfasts and Sambo's did have good ones, especially pancakes. So, when we got off the freeway in Santa Barbara and there was the first and only original Sambo's right there, with an open parking spot right in front, we knew we had to eat there.
John says the pancakes still taste the same.

The beaches in Santa Barbara are different from the beaches in the South Bay. The Ventura County and Santa Barbara County beaches are more protected because of the islands off the coast.

They are also rockier. The sand is more coarse and there is more tar from the off shore oil.

For some reason there is more seaweed around, too. I think that is because the Beach Cities grade and plow their beaches regularly, and these beaches farther north are left more "natural".

The rocks make good places for tide pools. And tide pools make good places for anenomes to grow.

Both the cultivated beaches and the natural beaches have their strengths.

We walked for four miles on the sand, splashing in the surf up to our ankles, looking for shells, stepping over rocks, shells, dead lobsters and bits of seaweed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Santa Barbara

Tomorrow is our anniversary. This afternoon we took off some time from unpacking and drove to Santa Barbara and took a beach walk. We decided to go to the beach because that is what we often did when we were dating. I took photos and they are still in my camera and we are checking email at Palermo in Ventura (there are two shops owned by the same people). So the photos will have to wait until tomorrow or until we have internet at home. John is checking on our internet options from his computer right now.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


All our belongings are in Camarillo, and most of them are actually in the house. We are playing rubics cubes with furniture. We still have some bookcases on the patio in front and a refrigerator, washing machine and painting gear in the carport. We've been there less than a week, so it's all good.

We got a phone line this afternoon but we still don't have internet, except dial up. So we are at a local coffee house called Palermo Coffee. Palermo sells gelato too, so Mike, John and I are eating gelato, talking, checking email and hanging out. Mike came up to help us move our bookcases and our family room furniture around. It's really not so far to come up here from El Segundo/Culver City.

We do love Camarillo already. It's quiet, clean and a bit cooler than LA. Martha popped over today and helped unpack books. It's lovely to have family so close.

No knitting is getting done. I found my knitting needles but they're not unpacked. Once I unpack them, I'll really be home.

Friday, July 06, 2007


We have a truck, we have two World Impact friends plus Deb, Tim and Mia to help pack and load this afternoon. Deb used her systems management strengths and did a walk through the house last night and so we have a master plan.

Our phone has been turned off but we have our cell phones. We still have electricity so until my table and computer go away, I'll still have internet.

We're hoping Mike will pop in with lunch/dinner from the Thai restaurant. We're all craving Thai food. Why moving makes us crave Thai, I don't know...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Two Days

This morning I am pulling together several boxes of "miscellaneous". Then I'm off to Laval to meet Deb and bring her back here to help until Sunday afternoon. Yeah! Tim and Mia will be here tomorrow afternoon. We're planning on using Marine muscle on all the big, heavy items.

Right now I'm feeling okay about our progress. We'll see if reality hits tomorrow.

Yesterday Elizabeth helped us pack the Sonshine Shop truck and we drove it up and unloaded the boxes and all the new rugs. We put the rugs down in the rooms and they look great!

I realized that I never knitted up a matching hat for the little brown sweater for LA, so this morning I pulled out the yarn and reference patterns before I packed them. I'll grab some needles and put them in a special bag for therapy knitting.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Four Days

The countdown is getting lower and the pile of boxes is getting higher.

The weather is still quite warm. I packed the house thermometer so I can't tell you how hot it is except that I sweat just sitting at the computer. We have no AC here so we just muddle along. We'll be going to the Beach Cities to pick up our rugs and do a sanity beach walk this evening. We can expect it to be as much as 15 degrees cooler there. Yesterday as we were driving along the freeway, we watched the car temperature read-out drop 15 degrees between our house and Manhattan Beach.

This morning before we left for my podiatrist appt in Pasadena, we packed several boxes, mostly photo albums and games. I know I'll have help packing tomorrow through Saturday, but I want to keep getting as much done as possible. I don't like all the last minutes chaos. So I'm off now to keep on packing. If you are a person who has lived in the same house for many years and don't plan to move, but thankful!

Here's a photo to keep you cool!
Oregon Snow Storm

Monday, July 02, 2007

Heat Wave

Los Angeles is enduring a heat wave. It was already 91 degress at 11:00 this morning. I don't want to know how hot it is now.


1. The house is painted. We finished the basic wall painting at 6pm last night.

2. My classroom is packed up. I still have a couple of reports to write, but those shouldn't take too long.

3. I got the chest x-ray I needed to prove I don't have TB. During all the years we lived in Indonesia, I was exposed to TB so many times that I don't bother to take the tyne test and just go straight to the x-ray. Saves time and money.

To Do:

1. Pack a room today.

2. Get our hair cut.

3. Attend a farewell dinner for each of us, John with the guys and me with the girls. We'll be saying, "See you later," to our good friends in the Beach Cities from the Bible studies we attended.

4. Do the never ending laundry, dishes and cleaning. We need to continue doing these chores so I can focus in spite of the chaos and we can still have clean clothes to wear.

I apologize for not having had any knitting content here. If you've ever moved, you'll understand. I did do some brainless knitting last night while we watched Foyle's War on PBS. Dishclothes are so brainless. Knit 1, inc, knit to end of row. Repeat until it's the right size. Knit 1, k2tog, knit to end of row. Repeat until you're back to 3 stitches.