Monday, September 24, 2007

Sock and Sailing Update

I'm definitely making progress on my sock! As you can see from the photo, I've made it around the heel, and am now working down the foot, toward the toe. The heel was a little tricky, and I had to get out my good old reference book, "Stitch 'N Bitch," by Debbie Stoller when I ran across this abbreviation -- ssk -- in the directions. Huh?? Turns out that's a slip, slip, knit which I found out makes a cool decrease stitch. It was a little tricky to get the hang of, but I did it! There are a few small flaws in my sock, but overall I'm quite happy with it. I can just see myself on those cold nights aboard the Mirage wearing these purple and green warmies to bed. Of course, by the time we get to Mexico and the warmer weather they will get packed away with the rest of the foul-weather clothing.

Speaking of our sailing trip to Mexico, we have found our housesitters! A really nice couple, originally from Idaho and who just sold their home there. They are now traveling around the U.S. and Canada, housesitting, and experiencing different areas of the continent. They seem like just the type of people who will enjoy living in our home with our cats, and who we can trust to look after both as though their own. Boy, is that a load off my mind. Now I need to get my house in tip-top shape so I'm not embarrassed to have them living here!

Mike thinks he will be done with bottom-scraping and painting on the boat today, and will schedule her to be put back in the water tomorrow afternoon. At that point he wants to start the trip back to Alameda with a stop somewhere part-way to anchor for the night, then finish the journey on Wednesday. I'll be going with him. It will be a good time to take a close look at how much storage space we have on-board, and make some decisions on how much we can realistically carry with us on our trip. We already know we can't possibly take enough food for 8 weeks and will have to re-provision along the way. We'll also study maps to get familiar with all available ports along the coast where we can stop for overnight stays. I'm crossing my fingers that we won't have to do too many all-nighters, at least on the southward journey.

Yes, I know I need to post a photo of the Mirage, and I'll do that as soon as I take one! I've been looking through my pictures and, so far, I don't see any. The Mirage is like the second child. Our first boat, Little Debbie, got her photo taken constantly; the Mirage . . . not so! I hadn't even realized it. So I'll try to remedy that in the next couple of days!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Adventures Ahead

Day before yesterday was my last day on the job at County of Napa - wooohoooo! I'll miss a lot of the people there....hopefully, they'll check in on me via my blog and/or email now and then (Hi, friends!) and we'll be able to stay in touch. We had great fun at the Bounty Hunter wine bar/restaurant in Napa on Thursday for an impromptu farewell lunch. I wish I'd had a camera so I could post a photo of the group. Instead, you'll have to be content with this picture of my administrative assistant, Scout, in her usual reclining position while using my laptop keyboard as a warm pillow.

So Mike and I are now "employer-free," and preparing, full-time, for our long cruise next month. We will be sailing our 34-foot Ganley Steel (which means our hull is steel and not fiberglass which was a DARN good thing when I ran into that buoy in the San Pablo bay last spring!) from Alameda, out the Golden Gate, and southward along the coast to San Diego.

In San Diego we'll meet up with about 170 other sailboats for a cruiser's rally called the "Baja Ha Ha." The festivities begin with a Halloween costume party, and then the entire regatta of boats heads south into Mexico, port-hopping and partying, and ending up in Cabo San Lucas about two weeks later. At that point everyone scatters; some head back north and home, others continue further south, and some winter in the Sea of Cortez. Our plans are to sail about 200 miles north into the Sea of Cortez to La Paz, if we have enough time. We'd like to be home by mid-December and will need about three weeks to "bash back," as it is called, because it's straight into the wind all the way back north to the Golden Gate. I think the "bash" part refers to the bruising sailors get from getting bounced all over a wildly heeling boat!

Mike is doing the heavy maintenance on the boat, and my job is to find a housesitter to care for our home and three cats. I've got several great possibilities but it is proving to be quite time-consuming to go through the telephone interviews, checking references, and meeting in person. There's a great website called which has been a big help. I highly recommend it if you ever need a housesitter. Hopefully, we'll have someone under contract by mid-next-week.

Amazing to think that this huge change in our lives, that we have waited so long for, has finally arrived! There's quite the celebratory atmosphere in our home these days. Every day, to do exactly (and only) what we's an amazing feeling.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm Knitting Socks!

I'm knitting my first pair of socks! I have had this Eggplant yarn (and some Green Apple for the contrasting color) for nigh on to a year now. I bought it at Article Pract ( in Berkeley, CA.; it's Cascade 100% Superwash Wool and lovely to work with.

I put off starting this project because I'd never knit with double-pointed needles, let alone 5 at a time, and I was, well, intimidated! Nor could I decipher the instructions, being such a beginner knitter. Scarves are what I do best!

Well, yesterday, my sister, Karen, came over and helped me get started on the sock. She's THE knitter in my family these days, and has knit all kinds of things, socks included. I never thought I'd actually knit socks, but so far it's going well! I love what Debbie Stoller says in her book, "Stitch 'n Bitch," about using double-pointed needles; that it's "like wrestling with an octopus..." That's exactly what it felt like when I first started out. As Karen told me, though, it's all a matter figuring out how I'm most comfortable holding the needles, so I tried to relax and just move the needles around until they felt right. Now I can't believe I was so hesitant to try this, it's really fun!

The photo shows 2.5 inches of ribbing on my first sock. Since I took the photo I've added about an inch-and-a-half of stockinette stitch (which, by the way, is a breeze when you knit "in the round" because you never have to purl)! So I'm highly encouraged and I'm thinking I'll actually knit this sock! Of course, Karen may have to come back when it's time to turn the heel....
Knit on!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

All-Crafts Day

Sunday morning....ahhhh, my favorite day of the week. Because it's the "day of rest" I seldom feel compelled to clean, work in the yard, or run errands. I look at Sunday as a day to do only the things that bring me joy. Like spending time with family, friends, or my cats. Or indulging in one of my many hobbies.

Today I'll be working on some digital scrapbook pages, and creating digital elements to use in those pages. I recently upgraded my PhotoShop 7 to PhotoShop CS3 and, boy oh boy, is there a lot of new functionality to explore! I'm having a blast with it. Around mid-afternoon my sister, Karen, will arrive with her knitting bag and latest project. In anticipation I've pulled out a knitting project of my own; a pair of socks, my first, and which I've not knit a single stitch yet because I'm intimidated by the pattern and the req'd five double-sided needles. I'm hoping Karen will help me get started.

If I get discouraged or bored by the socks, I have many other projects to fall back on; an afghan that I'm crocheting one square at a time, several cross-stitch projects, a quilt that needs just the binding put on for it to be finished, and many others. Mike would be appalled if he knew! At least I have finally become disciplined enough NOT to buy more "stash" until I make a dent in what I already have squirrelled away.

In keeping with the All-Crafts Day theme, this morning I dropped Mike off in Alameda. He will sail his "craft," the sailing vessel Mirage, through the San Pablo Bay and up the Carquinez Strait toward Benicia. He's planning to anchor off-shore for the night then, very early in the a.m., motor past Mare Island and up the Napa River to the Napa Marina. They will haul the boat out of the water so that he can spend the majority of the week cleaning and re-painting the ol' girl's bottom, in readiness for our Great Sailing Adventure next month.

So, what a perfect day for an afternoon of needlecrafts with my littlest sister. Karen is truly the knitter in our family right now, she probably knits every single day and has completed dozens of things, including socks. I'm hoping she might also have some advice on mittens. I could use several pairs of warm mittens for the boat trip, especially when it's time to "bash back" north! Seems they'd make a nice (small) project to take on-board, too...

More about our planned Great Sailing Adventure soon!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Life - It's for Living

Hello . . . and welcome to my blog!

I'm excited about blogging; I found blogs recently, began reading various ones and, well, I'm hooked! I feel like I have friends all over the world now. It's different from e-mail and even instant-messenger type communication. Blogs are where people write about whatever is on their mind, going on in their lives, or interests them. You really get a feel for the depth of a person by reading their blog postings.

This is my personal blog. I also have a blog for my business, "Webajeb Digital Photo Albums & Portfolios" where I blog about my experiences in getting a small business up and running, how the business is growing and changing, and new products and specials. It's called BlogWebajeb and you are welcome to read it by simply going to my website and clicking on the Blog link at the top of the Home Page.

THIS blog, however, is where I'll get more personal . . . and blog about my life & experiences, my passions, my heartaches & worries, and all the exciting changes that are going on in my little corner of the world.

For example, would you believe my husband and I BOTH just quit our high-tech jobs??? I'll be talking about why, and what we're planning to do next.

Other topics I can't wait to talk (blog!) about: Family, friends, travel, holidays, the "Baja Ha Ha," sailing, photography, digital (and traditional) scrapbooking, reading, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, handicrafts (love handmade items!), sewing, hiking, camping, handmade books & journals, gardening, writing, family reunions, cooking, cats, animal rescue, and whatever else pops into my head! I hope you'll visit my blog often and, please, leave comments!

More soon! Meanwhile, feel free to email me anytime!