Wednesday 28 November 2007

Not just knitting

I am making progress with my Christmas knitting list but obviously I can't show you anything in case its for you! I have been brushing up on another skill though, mosaic. My friend Rose on the Isle of Wight (where as we know time stands still) has kindly sent me kits from Helen Mosaics and because the latest one has such Christmasy colours I thought I'd better get it made. I glued down the mosaics on Sunday and grouted the tile on Monday evening while Mr FF was at his Italian class. I also regrouted the corner of the tile I made earlier. I entered this in the 'coaster' category at our village show last year. I won second prize, 30p if I remember correctly, but unfortunately someone must have dropped the tile because the corner grout had broken off when I went to collect it.

All fixed now. Its quite relaxing sticking and grouting, do you think I'm ready to tackle a garden table next?

Friday 23 November 2007

Under the weather

Its been a dull old week weather and activity wise. I have given myself a huge list of items to knit for Christmas and am making precious little progress. Last Sunday Mr FF went off walking and I decided to stay at home because I thought it was going to rain all day, of course it didn't and he had a glorious walk. I also planned to make good progress inside and outside the house, but none of this happened and I spent the day in displacement activity. All this week the weather has been dire, driving to and from work in the dark, generally in heavy rain, has been depressing though I do try to get out of the office at lunchtime for a boost of daylight. I am trying desperately to hold that Palm Springs sunshine in my mind but I think the prospect of another month before we reach the shortest day and start moving in the right direction isn't helping.

Then this morning I woke to blue skies and sunlight. Wonderful. The garden was beautifully frosted and as you can see the birdbath was frozen solid. We go through a period of winter here where the sun never touches either our front drive or the back patio, the whole area can become a land of permafrost but as long as the days are bright and the sun is on the hills its manageable. So today I've been to my yoga class, I've done the washing and the sheets are stiff as board on the line, I've cleaned the house, I've made parsnip soup for the freezer and even done a few rounds of knitting. All I need is a little sunlight, I must be solar powered.

Friday 16 November 2007

Make a Wish

As I type the Christmas cake is slowly baking in the oven and whilst I am still not adjusted time or temperature wise to being back home (it was snowing when I drove home from work on Monday), it makes me happy to know that tonight when the cake has cooked about 4 hours I can pack it away into a cool dark place and let it mature until 25 December.
And that's all I need to do because I don't ice the cake, we both prefer our Christmas cake eaten with a piece of Wensleydale cheese in the proper Yorkshire way. We do usually make a wish whilst stirring the mixture but today Mr FF was out and I forgot, hope its not too late to add one now.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Born in the USA

Three socks in three weeks, its not good I know but it was very hot in California. I couldn't make the blue socks into a matching pair as the long repeat would have wasted so much wool I probably wouldn't have had enough. Anyway I like them as they are. I was able to knit on the journey to Los Angeles but coming back was a night flight, everyone put their lights out and I was sleepy too so no knitting on the way home. At least I established that you can take knitting needles on British Airways without any hassle at all.

I am finding it so hard to get back into any sort of routine, still a bit jet lagged, I slept until around 11 am on Friday and find myself wide awake in the middle of the night. However I did motivate myself to get out into the garden today. Its looking pretty sad, but I've swept up leaves and cut back some old herbaceous material. I generally leave the dead foliage and seed heads standing to provide food for the birds and some protection for new growth, however I make an exception with the back garden as I can't spend from now until Easter looking out of the kitchen window at brown stalks and slimey old leaves. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are finished and all the summer pots have been moved back indoors. Not a happy time so I'll cheer you up with a photo of my Native American painted tile, which Mr FF chose especially to match our kitchen worktops and as you can see it does.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Jet Lagged but Happy

We arrived home at 8.30 last night but I was into work this morning for a belated birthday celebration and to receive a lovely Laura Ashley cake stand, a delicious lemon cake and a handmade card - Joanne you are no knitter but you do have some special skills. Thanks girlies, you made coming back tolerable and it was lovely to see you all again after 3 weeks.
I'm unpacked but otherwise too exhausted to do anything, I'll update in a few days assuming I'm back to normal then.
It was a fabulous holiday, I'm told I look well and relaxed and apart from the jet lag and a few extra pounds that made my trousers rather uncomfortable on the flight home, I feel great.

Thursday 1 November 2007

La La Birthday to Me

Today I am 59 and what better place to celebrate than back in the heat of Palm Springs. Mr FF had managed to purchase a few native American gifts for me, some nice jewellery and a lovely painted tile and tonight after we've been down to the village night market, he's planning to cook me a steak on the BBQ.
Our epic 4 day 4 state journey (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona) ended at 10 pm last night when we got back from Grand Canyon to our condo. We visited Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Zion National Park and Grand Canyon north and south rims and in between saw some amazing scenery and crazy sights. Our hotel in Vegas, The Bellagio, was mind blowing, our room had a floor to ceiling window looking out onto the strip and the 8 acre water park with dancing fountains, luckily the curtains operated from the bedside so we could block out all the neon when we tired of looking. We are glad we visited Vegas but its not something we would want to do again - ever. If you are not gambling it seems you are walking round watching other people do so, there seems to be no way of getting away from the machines and the tables, even the bar tops and the dining tables offer gaming opportunities.
It was nice to get away into the quiet little towns and talk to local people one of whom directed us to Zion National Park, it was fantastic and great to be able to see the autumn colours and get up close to the rock formations. Grand Canyon was beyond words and though we couldn't stay at the north rim as planned as it was closed for winter (winter with 60 degrees), we did stay in the park at the south rim and took our morning coffee out to the rim to watch the sun coming up. So much to see but now we are going to take it easy, though maybe go to the Joshua Tree which we have visited before but not for very long. I'm having a wonderful birthday.