Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Dogs

Sometimes, you have to re-tool. That means learn a new skill in today's market. But it also means getting some new tools, like a new washer and dryer. OR it could mean a new computer program. Maybe even some new industrial equipment for an antiquated plant. But for me, it is a new washer and dryer and all the mental re-tooling that goes with it.
I bought some new appliances- a brand I have never used before. The room needed to be remodeled first, so I tooled up and laid down some tile. I painted, too. Then, after properly exhausting myself, I attempted to use my new washer without reading the manual. This is not a user friendly machine. It is not intuitive. When you actually fill up the machine with clothing, it is way over full. You can only really use 1/2 of the capacity. Not so super large as it was said to be.
Then, having over stuffed the washer, I needed to dry this damp stuff. Again, 2 1/2 hours of dryer time and still damp- over full. We had to take about 1/2 the clothes out to get anything dry. Did I read the manual? Of course not.
It is hard to imagine needing to mentally re-tool in order to do laundry. What is so hard about it that I have to read up and study? Still, this is a new system and I am an old dog with many years of simple machinery. I kind of expected to push a button and have my washer do the rest of the job, just like my old machine.
But, I think I am not so old that I can't figure out how to do this. I will read the manual and practice until I am able to wash clothing and dry it in a reasonable period of time. Even if I have to wash one piece at a time until I find the correct size for the washer and dryer. Eventually, I will become friends with these new GE help mates.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Winter Thoughts

For the middle of July, I am deep in Winter Thoughts. You know those dark, cold places where old issues sleep and old fears shuffle around waiting for that vulnerable moment when they can steal just a bit more of your warmth. It doesn't help that our weather has been more winter than summer, too. Today there is no drizzle, but it is overcast and cold again. The fruit is rotting on the trees and the trees are starting to go dormant. There has been no sun, no warmth and they are thinking winter thoughts also.
My dark places have been stirring and it is hard to keep them quiet. This is because of events during the last couple of days that have turned some of our world into a strange dance full of tears and sadness, confusion, and rushing to try to figure out how to re-arrange things. Sara's mother died.
Sara is my step-daughter and now she is a partial orphan. Eduard has stepped up to be a full time dad, but Sara's step-dad is having issues with this. It is hard for him to let go of the control of Sara he has had for the last 8 years. And it is hard for Sara to let go of her mom's house, stuff, ways of doing things, routines. She is trying very hard to figure out who she is and what she needs to do. All of this stress and confusion has created that moment of vulnerability that encourages those dark moments to come forward.
But we are pushing back and trying to keep the world moving toward "functionality". So as I look out on another gloomy, cold summer day, I am thinking about Sara starting school in 6 weeks- College. Dorms. Holidays. Hustle and bustle. I am thinking about my room remodel in stasis, my garden in dormancy, my laundry that died, my wool that wants washing, my various appointments and projects. It is keeping me busy enough to ward off much of the darkness.
But sometimes, when I am alone, I hear the dark thoughts calling me. I have decided to knit them a pair of socks- Winter Thoughts socks. At least their feet will be warm while they whine at me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Discoveries, finds and prizes

I am back and tired and still unpacking. I had a wonderful time. I want to do it again in about a year.
This year, again, we found the lovely honey lady- Jackie Vandersys- and bought some delicious honey from Bear Mountain Honey. Yum. Always a high light of our trip. The honey is part of our constant reminders of our trip as I make granola, bread and desserts from it all year.
And of course, there is fleece- three part fleeces this year. I bought fleece and split it with people for the first time, so that I could have more than one color. I had determined that I could only have one fleece this year and it was all so pretty. So I have 1/2+1/2+1/3= 1 because the gray one was very small.
Then I did some shopping for friends- roving, roving, buttons, sparkle, roving, roving. I spread a bit of joy in Oregon and some down here. So now I am sprinkling the gifts out a bit at a time as I find my friends.
I also did some unusual shopping in Eugene. We had an opportunity to visit a thrift store where I found a yarn score for $1.50! But that was just a little diversion. The big fun was the fiber swap. We scheduled it for 5ish and it was over by 5:15p. People came with fiber rejects and left with a new toy. I put some alpaca, Shetland, mohair, white weaving yarn, Wensleydale curls, and misc. stuff out on the table and a pound+ of cotton roving with a bundle of possum snuggled itsway into my bag. Now I have a bunch of fun to play this summer. Well, to be honest- many summers before I even get half way through it. I truly have a fiber overload. But that is not all the fun we had.
After we left Oregon, we headed to the Big Tree. The redwoods were calling us to visit, so we camped in Prarrie Creek State park and walked with the giants. They are so beautiful. I wish I had managed to get up there earlier in my life. I would love to be able to hike more in the trees. We saw elk and slept next to a babbling stream. It was just the beginning of mosquito season so we were able to sit out for part of the evening without too much distress. It was cool and overcast most of our trip, but very pleasant anyway. We walked through some of the trails, saw bannana slugs, examined lovely wild flowers, then wandered on. Humbolt. Eureka. and eventually Petaluma.
Petaluma was quite a find in itself. I never realized how lovely that little town is. We went into the old part of town to the Seed Bank- Baker Creek Heirloom seeds west coast store. I just love their seed collections and I found some lovely short season items for my weird weather. They turned us on to a great yarn store and Thai restaurant, Knitterly and Sea, two separate locations. But the thought of a yarn store/restaurant is appealing.
At Knitterly, we found some size 0 bamboo circs on sale, a lovely glass button to match my thrift store yarn, and some sparkly stuff for my spinning projects. While we were there we chatted about their roving collection (mostly for felting) and that they were having a dye workshop that weekend. They clued us in on a great hotel nearby.
Then we ate some of the best Thai food I have had at Sea. A black noodle dish with pork was probably my favorite. It was a bit like Pad Thai, but with wide noodles that were made of Wild rice. Lots of vegetables too. Everything was very fresh and home made tasting. Yum- just from the memory.
On the last day, we hit a few wineries in the Sonoma/Carneros region. We snagged a Pinot Noir or two, and a couple of bottles of California Olive Oil. Best find- Fig Balsamic Vinegar. Now I know what is going to happen to this year's fig crop.
Then we came home and, LO!, there is a pile of stuff on the floor. The laundry is done. The bulk of stuff is put away, but there is still a pile waiting for some attention. And the yard is screaming for some weeding/mowing and fruit picking. Work. more work. and a moment to remember the fun parts. But I have to say that I am really enjoying those fun parts. Every time I sniff the fleece, I drift back to the trip. It was really nice.