The trickiest part of knitting is not decoding the pattern. It's estimating how much yarn to buy, especially when the knitter is a traveler and can't return to get more yarn later. So when we found the lovely Shetland yarn last summer in Canada, we stocked up. The dark colored yarn snakes down the asphalt pavement of the street, going beneath cars Remnants of the runaway yarn ball

After finishing her sweater, Elsa discovered that there were many, many more skeins of yarn left in the knitting sack, and at Christmas time her winter knitting mania set in. She decided to create a small afghan for the Alameda Pendletons. As the blanket grew, the supply of yarn seemed to diminish only slowly, and another project - a scarf - was born.

On a gorgeous January morning Bob and Elsa, accompanied by the knitting bag containing afghan, scarf and extra yarn, motored to Monterey, California for a luncheon date. Elsa was knitting away, having set herself a deadline to finish both projects. We reached the restaurant, and Elsa hopped out to verify its hours, while Bob circled the block. Hopping back in, she picked up her knitting, only to find that the ball of yarn had disappeared!

After investigation, we discovered that the ball had followed her out of the truck, where the closing door had cut it. It was retrieved from behind the tire of a parked truck, where it had left its own trail, a yarn thread reaching several car-lengths down the street! The scarf was saved. The beautiful bay view shows a peninsula in the distance, and in the near foreground tiny heads of otters can be made out in the sheltered water See the sea otters' heads?

We recovered quickly from our adventure, and enjoyed watching sea otters at play in protected waters of the marine sanctuary adjacent to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. The otters floated on their backs, with rocks on their bellies and clams in their paws, slamming clams against rocks until the shells broke. Unfortunately there were sea gulls waiting to snatch the freshly opened clams away from the otters --- sometimes. But the otters didn't seem too disturbed!

On a hill at the far side of the inlet, we saw several deer and Canada geese. We mentioned seeing eagles, gulls and ravens together in Valdez, Alaska to a volunteer naturalist. She countered with the following Valdez story. A Georgia RV appeared at a local gas station to refuel, having made the long trip north. On one side the husband held the gas hose; on the other the wife looked around. Her little chihuaha jumped out and was seized by an eagle about that fast. The wife was despondent. The husband cheered for the eagle. The headline said "Georgia Pooch Becomes Part of Alaska Food Chain."

We're preparing for a long trip to England, travelling light and doing family history. We have hundreds of ancestors identified, but there's lots of data checking to do. We'll concentrate on some nineteenth century branches, in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Durham, but we'll also spend a fair amount of time at London libraries. At the end of our trip we'll give our grandson Dan two weeks in France as a reward for learning French in school.