We have a new home!

FINALLY!!

It’s not the one we desperately really wanted, which is just about four blocks from where we’re living now, but it’s nearly as big as where we are now, it’s much closer to my school (I could actually walk to school in about half an hour. Uh, maybe I’ll get fitter?), it’s up a hill and there’s a great deck above the house so we have a view of San Francisco!!

I'm looking forward to bbqs and lazy afternoons up here.

I’m looking forward to bbqs and lazy afternoons up here.

On a clear day, we'll be able to see San Francisco!

On a clear day, we’ll be able to see San Francisco!

It's really big!

It’s really big!

The deck is a real selling point.

The deck is a real selling point.

Since the driveway is really steep, we’re going to hire a moving service (oh dear, I have to start calling them today!); I don’t want to have to drag all my heavy boxes of books up there! It’s such a relief to know we have a place to go. Also, this means I’ll be able to figure out what furniture we’ll really be able to keep/use. Knowing how big the rooms are and how many of them we’ll have is important!

We’d like to be much less cluttered in the new place (and in the future in general), so I’m trying to get rid of as much stuff as if we’d had to move into a much smaller place. It’s so easy to have too much stuff!

The house is a little odd – there are some strange little … tucked in spaces where the roof is visible from the inside. It almost seems as if the roof is nothing but the wooden outer shell.

You can really see the odd roof here.

You can really see the odd roof here.

Strange, isn't it?

Strange, isn’t it?

However, the garage is decent, and that’s important.

At least the garage comes with built in storage.

At least the garage comes with built in storage.

Also, the kitchen is much larger than the one we have now. The cabinets are painted an unusual shade of mint green. It’s more startling in person.

That's an ... interesting green, don't you think?

That’s an … interesting green, don’t you think?

Anyway, I’m going back to packing. It’s a never-ending job, it seems.

Once we move in, C and I are going on a short trip, just as a break. Phew.

SongBird

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Where would you like to live?

So in the Housing Quest, I’m looking at an awful lot of houses and apartments. We’d rather live in a house, even a townhouse, but most of the local apartment complexes allow pets and many of the local houses don’t, so we’re having to take what we can get.

And, honestly, if the apartments were a little bigger and less expensive, they wouldn’t be so bad, really. They all have pools and exercise rooms and locking doors and are quite nice … in a bland, pointless, plastic sort of way. But each of them charges “rent” for each cat – no, really, they don’t say that there’s an extra amount added to OUR rent, they say “Each pet will have to pay $X per month in rent.” Uh, my cats don’t have jobs and they’re pretty unlikely to get a job in the next few weeks. How the hell are they supposed to come up with rent?

Also, the apartments don’t come with parking for both cars. So, the one I looked at today – in Union City, very nice for C, about a 1 minute walk to a Starbucks, so good for my kiddo – they charge $65/cat/month rent, and an extra $500 in the deposit, and if you want two parking places you’ll have to pay an extra $25/month, and the tenant pays ALL utilities (including water, which is odd to me as every other apartment complex I’ve been in doesn’t charge for water. Also, they assess the charge by taking the total water bill for the entire building and dividing it by number of residents. Uh… what if someone leaves their water running while they go away for a holiday weekend?).

So I don’t think we’ll be renting from this complex, even if it is nice and they do let tenants paint their apartments.

In other news, packing sucks, going through my years of collected junk is overwhelming and dreary (but oddly freeing) and it seems like every time I start packing stuff I find more and more to pack/go through/deal with. Ugh.

SongBird

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Moving?

Well. The day after that last post, we got a 60 Day Termination of Tenancy Notice. At least it wasn’t timed so that we had to move during finals or so that we got the notice itself during finals, but really, we could do without moving at all, thank you very much.

Turns out the rental market in the Bay Area right now is entirely a seller’s market. Everyone wants to move here, everyone wants to have a house/apartment/roof, and many people seem willing to pay really outrageous amounts. The rental managment company said that the property owner is moving back in, but she never lived here in the first place. We think that she wants to sell – or, maybe that she wants to put the rent up more than she can do to established tenants. Either way, we’re stuck.

We’re not ready. Aside from not yet having a place to go, we have so much stuff that getting packed and moving is overwhelming. We’re looking at places from here in Alameda to as far south in the East Bay as Union City. Dublin is a possiblity, but an awful one.

Another strike against us is the cats. So many places won’t take pets; are people supposed to just live without furry friends? How awful! I have a loving and annoying furry little beast lying across my arms as I type this; without them we’d be so lonely.

However, as everyone says, this is a good opportunity to get rid of all the junk we’ve been keeping simply becasue we’re too lazy to get rid of it. That is, bizarrely, not as easy as it sounds. I’ve a tiny car and there’s so much stuff to get rid of. Augh.

For my next trick, I’ll learn to pack things with just my mind!

SongBird

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Snapshots from my Saturday

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We found a great little brunch place in a hidden part of Richmond. The hollandaise is truly hand-made, delicious and lemony.

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We drove about the area and looked at the great views.

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I’m working on basic socks for C, in Liberty fingering weight wool.

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Then, we went to Sattui winery,  for our favorite wine, and lovely blown roses.

Finally home for light dinner and for me to study.

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I have a lot more studying to do. The quarter is almost over,  and I am looking forward to the summer.

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Third scarf and beyond

Well, I went shopping for nicer yarns. Clearly, I’m going to do this a lot, so I should be using better stuff. I warped the loom with Cascade 220 fingering and Crystal Palace mohair/silk, and then wove with the same mixture. It’s amazing – super soft and fluffy and great.

C got me a loom stand as well and wow, having the loom at a good height for sitting and weaving makes a huge difference. I wove most of this scarf on C’s drive home, which was just a little more than an hour. The loom is 32″ wide, though, which wasn’t so big when it was sitting on my sewing table, but which is HUGE when it’s in the middle of my craft room floor. This means I’ll have to hurry up and get rid of the big futon and the IKEA chair and put in a nice daybed. (I’ve picked one out at IKEA; I just need to get rid of the futon.)

Here’s the third scarf.

Open weave on loom

Drying full length

Finished on the table

Drying close up

Fabulous, isn’t it?

What should I do next? I’ve three yarn options. The mixed purples would be pillow covers, I think, in a plaid color pattern or something, the green stripes would be an attempt to see how the same stripes work as warp and weft, and the green and yellow cotton would be weft for an attempt at kitchen towels, with crochet cotton as warp.

fourth warp worsted purples

fourth warp green stripes

fourth warp cottons

What do you think?

SongBird

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Second scarf

I immediately warped the loom for a second scarf, but I didn’t get what I expected from the yarn. I used self-striping yarn in the weft and plain white yarn in the warp. I didn’t realize the yarn was self-striping – I’d thought it was mixed-multi-color. In the end, each of the colors in the weft yarn were nice, but only individually, not when mixed into strong stripes.

Yarns

Finished wavy edges

Finished close up

Finished

See, not as nice as the first one, not at all. So I overdyed it!! I used Black Cherry Koolaid, which is an excellent, cheap permanent dye for animal fibers. (I used to teach elementary school kids how to knit and the first class was always Dyeing The Yarn!)

I like it much more now.

Scarf in color

Colored water

First dyejob close

I didn’t think it was dark enough after one dyeing, so I added more Koolaid!

 Second dyejob close

It’s great, now. The stripes are sort of shadowy, and it smells delightfully of Artificial Cherry. Yum.

SongBird

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New LOOM!

So, C got me a loom for Christmas, did I say?? I’m really excited – I’ve wanted a loom for ages, but I kept resisting, because I really don’t need another hobby and I wasn’t sure I’d have room. However, I finally gave in and I’m so glad.

First scarf

First scarf in the sun

I set it up very soon after Christmas and have woven three scarves! I could have made more, but I didn’t like the second one so I kept putting it off. The first one is made of an acrylic Lion Brand yarn, and it’s quite startlingly lovely. I want to do something like this with nicer wool.

First warp actual weaving

First warp

First warp weaving

Isn’t it lovely?

SongBird

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First Day of School

Winter quarter started on Monday. I have really long days on Monday and Wednesday – I’m in school from 9:20 am (Organic Chemistry lab) until 8:50pm (Principles of Genetics “discussion”, which I think means lab).

There are two gaps in the day on Mondays and Wednesdays – a 1.5 hour one between morning lab and lecture, then a two hour gap between my morning classes and afternoon ones. I’m planning on using the second to go to the gym – but I probably won’t start until next week: I’ve a cold and I don’t think it’s a good idea now. Breathing is hard enough as is! For this week, I’ll be staying in the library, reading and studying.

There’s another two hour gap on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which will be filled with studying and panic, as I seem to have inadvertently ended up in five (5) classes this quarter.

!!!

Two of them I’d been waitlisted for and, um, I appear to have gotten into both. This is good – one is Basic Criminal Investigation and the other is SF Bay Area History, which I didn’t expect much of, but which has turned out to be really cool!

So, this leaves me with Organic Chemistry, Principles of Genetics (much harder than I’d expected), Intro to Programming (and its lab course, the next day), Basic Criminal Investigation, and SF Bay Area History.

Five.

I’m insane.

The history class is a hybrid class – not at all what I was expecting. For the first half of the quarter, we’ll be meeting in the classroom and discussing articles about local history. Then, for the second half of the class, we’ll NOT meet in person, but instead we’ll be writing a blog about researching a piece of local history that we choose! I’m looking forward to this! I’ve a couple of topics already in mind, but I’m not sure which I’ll choose in the end.

Regardless, I’m going to have a LOT of work this quarter. I think I’ll need to get a lot more coffee.

*sigh*

And knitting. Always knitting.

Mismatched colors

SongBird

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Little Drawings

Flower aceo

Recently I participated in an online gift exchange – candy and books!  I got some great, interesting candies and I got a book I’m really looking forward to reading by one of my favorite authors, Patricia McKillip.  I got Winter Rose (that’s a Goodreads link), and I’m bringing it to school with me tomorrow to read during some of the time I have between classes.

One of the things I included in the packages I sent out was a little drawing.  Well, there are four total – one for each of the packages I sent.  They’re ACEO’s; 2.5″x3.5″ cards just right for sharing little bits of art.

Flower aceo Flower aceo Flower aceo

What sorts of art do you like?

SongBird

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Cheater Chocolate Croissants

I love to bake, but I don’t see a reason to make puff pastry by hand (not right now, at least).  So, while my honey was working from home for the week before Christmas, I wanted to make us a treat.  These worked out really well.

All you need is puff pastry, chocolate chips (but you could use any good chocolate you want) (oh, and imagine if you put in peanut butter with the chips!), an oven set to 400F, a baking pan with parchment paper or non-stick spray, or a silicone mat, and a set of happy mouths to fill.

Roll out the puff pastry until it’s as big as it’ll get, scatter the chips (or other filling – this would work with fruit preserves, or nut butters, or ham-and-cheese, or …) down the center third of the pastry, fold the two edges over the filling and turn the whole thing over, cut it into four or five slices and press the cut edges closed.  Bake them at 400F for about 20 minutes, or until they’re done.  Eat while warm, or cold, or however you like.  Delicious!

Chocolate Croissants ingredients

Chocolate Croissants Step One

Chocolate Croissants Step Two

Chocolate Croissants Step Three

Chocolate Croissant Step Four

Oh, and don’t believe any cats who say they’ve never eaten ever and that you should feed them all the fish in the fridge.  They’re lying.

Chocolate Croissant Cat Face

SongBird

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