Hi there! That was a long time between posts. Much longer than I'd intended it to be. I've been doing a fair amount of knitting and cooking but had to take a break from posting about it for a while.
My husband and I just got back from Denver where we were visiting my father in the hospital. He was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that was attacking his lungs and making him unable to breathe on his own. Luckily he is a vet, and so he received excellent care at the VA hospital, where he was put on a ventilator for 9 days, and given a variety of treatments that restored his breathing and prevented any further damage.
These last two weeks have been incredibly stressful, and although my friends said, "At least you have your knitting!", I wasn't able to knit while in Denver. It took my father several days to recover from the effects of the sedative and the intubation procedure and I really had to pay attention because he kept trying to pull off the various tubes and wires. And then he needed a lot of help and support in the few days after that.
So while I spent Thanksgiving Day driving from Salt Lake City back to Portland, this year I am more thankful than any other, that my father survived his illness, and that we were able to be together for that time and reconnect.
As for my knitting, I have some more progress photos to share with you, as well as some family knitting. My father's sister is unfortunately dealing with end stage breast cancer right now. She is across the country and so I knit her two hats to keep her head warm. The first was the Pi Topper Chemo Hat with the pattern available for free from Elann.com. I used Rowan Calmer as I had some and it's very soft. I added a few buttons I'd picked up recently at an antique store.
The second is the Slouchy Copy Cat Hat also available free from Terra Jamieson of Confessions of a Maniacal Thrower. I made this one not quite as slouchy as in the pattern and knit the yarn overs through the back loop to eliminate the holes. It's very warm and comfortable and I'd make one for myself, too.
Now I'll get started making a hat for my dad. It's COLD in Colorado and at the rehab hospital, he can go outside so I want him to be warm. I'll look through my patterns and yarn and see what I come up with. He would definitely wear something simple and dark.
After the Old Men of the Sea were done getting their pants wet, we changed and went over to Harrah's Casino, where my husband played $12 at the dollar slots and won $68. We celebrated with a little air hockey and Day of the Dead, and then went home and had tacos.
Top: Veggie Filling: yucca, chayote, yellow onion, red pepper
Middle: Field Roast Chipotle Sausage
Bottom: Stewed Black Beans
I'm so excited. I haven't seen my mom in almost 4 years since we haven't been back to NYC since then. She flew in tonight (she's sleeping right now) and she'll be here almost a week. I'll have lots to post about once we get busy.
I've not been knitting too much as I had to set up my house more (we have a dining table now!) and clean for her visit. But it's coming along.
My mom has celiac's disease, so we'll be making almost everything gluten-free while she's here and trying some cooking experiments. I'm going to make the gluten-free chocolate cupcakes from VCTOTW and also some blackberry muffins with berries from our yard and an almond flour recipe suggested by someone who is on a low-carb diet. It has quite a few eggs and I tried to get some from my neighbors who had just been on vacation but I think they gave them all to another neighbor already. Too bad, as the eggs that come from completely humane farms in the area are very expensive at the grocery store ($7.50/dozen versus $2.00 for the less humane ones) and if I could get the neighbor's eggs, I would eat a muffin or two. They keep the chickens as pets and don't kill them so I don't have any ethical issues with it.
Sounds good, doesn't it! On the way home from Louisville, we passed this fabulous truck. I saw it from far away and couldn't wait to take a picture of the candy man on the back.
Little did I know the even better surprise waiting on the side of the truck! I thought my heart would break at the cuteness. If you spend as much time looking at the photos as I did (click on them to see them full-sized), you'll notice that in the back picture, Mr. Candy is looking all dapper with a candy corn tie and some candy cane shorts. However, he obviously lost his clothes in the shipwreck !?!? and is looking very sad and lonely (don't mind the smile - it's painted on.) I want to shout "Cheer up! Your friend the peanut is coming to save you in his gumdrop boat!" but he'll have to wait until he sees him.
And the funniest thing? Look at the candy - it's all vegan!
Now that I've outed myself as a total wierdo, watch out for a post soon with links to all the Louisville photos on flickr. I'll post one from each photoset to give you an idea. The architecture there is just stunning.
We went to visit our friend Simone, and her hubby, Gregg, this weekend in Los Angeles. Here is the first of a few food posts.
Our trip to Madeleine Bistro for brunch:
Drunk college guy on phone: Dude, you've gotta come down here... Seriously, everyone's gonna be here! There's these two guys coming -- the first guy is the first dude and the second guy, he's the second dude! It's gonna be freaking sweet!
--Serendipity 3, E 60th St
Girl #1: So, you're a vegetarian?
Girl #2: Yep. Eating animals kills.
Girl #1: Wait, but you had sushi the other night.
Girl #2: Fish doesn't count. It's, like, not an animal.
Girl #1: Huh? Yeah, it is. It, like, breathes and stuff.
Girl #2: But it's underwater.
Girl #1: No, it's an animal, 'cause it moves around and swims.
Girl #2: Then how come I can eat it?
To celebrate the end of summer, my husband and I had a picnic on Labor Day. We had to hike 1.5 miles each way with the blanket and picnic basket, and I forgot a knife to cut the bread. But all the same, a good time was had!
(We had Tofurky sandwiches, red wine, inari, olives, and plums. I forgot to bring a book so I went for a walk while my husband read. I did bring my knitting in the car and started the second Broadripple.)
After such a bracing breakfast of Biscuits, Sausages, and Gravy, we were off to Emerald Bay. Although the weather report gave a chance of thunderstorms, you can see this was not a worry at all.
We began by eschewing the trail in order to scrabble down the cliffside.
About 3/4 of the way down, we found a mini-waterfall with a beautiful cold pool, with some side pools filled with enormous Water Skaters. We climbed some rocks, and dipped our toes into the water. I counted the water skaters. 22 or 26 (two counts)
Up above, were the Emerald Falls, which we climbed up to (this picture shows about 1/2 of it)
Whereupon, my husband spotted a ledge with a pool of water in the middle of the fall and announced that his life-long dream had been to bathe in that pool (Simpson's Season 8 just came out and we brought it to the cabin!) So he got into his bathing suit and climbed over.
Then J joined him.
I videotaped it with my digital camera. It was impossible to capture the huge falls in a regular picture.
After this, we hiked down to the Bay, where we all went swimming, watched a Raven try to sneak up to a table where someone was sitting to steal food, only to get chased off by a mere Ringbilled gull, saw a new warbler (olive and yellow) fly, were scolded by chipmunks, and a small woodpecker let us get really close to it. Then we hiked back up the cliff and drove back to the cabin for dinner.
Our friend J is back from Siberia (He's living in the Republic of Khakasia, in the capital city of Abakan to be exact for you geography buffs) for 3 weeks and I finally gave him the scarf I made him. He loves it and really likes its softness which I'm happy to say developed after being washed and dried when the acrylic was at first a bit stiff. Nothing like Red Heart but still stiff.
Khakas culture is really wonderful - he's studying the languages and music at a small traditional college there. Their culture is very pastoral, raising sheep and horses - not the most vegan friendly. But he isn't vegan. Anyway, he had trouble locating any vegan yarn or fabric for me so far (lots of wool and felt) but brought me back a book of traditional designs for embroidery, a hand-made field guide to Khakasian birds, some grain cerial, and he bought but forgot some dark chocolate with cedar nuts in it that I can't wait to try.
I'll scan some of his photos when he stays at our house next - it's really beautiful there.
Now that he's here and I can measure it against his head while I go, I started the matching hat last night. Oh, how I love the green of those beads, made by Ellie - check out her Etsy store for other beautiful stitchmarkers and jewelry. Also check out Chaifae's Etsy store for beaded jewelry. They are all so beautiful!
When we were in LA, we went to a Roller Rink. This was my first time on actual rollerskates since rollerblades became the phenomena for this sort of thing. I've known how to roller and ice skate since I was four. This was a great rink, and on Sunday nights they play old Soul and R&B and you have to be 21 or older. Everyone dances while they skate, which I love to do.
There are some great wall decorations in keeping with the theme:
And I'm the second from the right, cutting a rug in my yellow blouse and black pants:
Another thing I did in LA was to take an exercise class with the KING of aerobics - Richard Simmons! The class was called "Sweat" and boy, did we ever (as you can see!) It was so much fun, and I didn't have to stop to rest or use my inhaler even though it was an intense workout. Although I'm not yet comfortable posting my photo on the internet (for security issues, not confidence) I've gotta share this picture, so I put a heart over my face to show my love for Richard!
Today started with a trip to Vik's Chaat Corner, where we feasted upon:
Then we drove over to Amoeba Records to see if there were any good vintage cartoons but we already had all that they had. So we walked over to the newly built, and absolutely hideous monstrosity, the de Young Museum to see the International Arts and Crafts exhibit. I'm crazy for Arts and Crafts style furniture, architecture, and accessories, and it's my dream to live in a proper bungalow with all the trimmin's. The exhibit itself was a little bit disappointing, partially because it was so jam packed that it was hard to look at the items long enough to appreciate them, and because some of them were pretty ugly. But there were some very nice pieces, one of which reminded me of someone (Hi Knitsteel!)
After that, we saw the rest of the museum. I realize that it is new, which might explain why the pieces seemed somewhat cobbled together from leftovers. But at the end, we saw four really good collections, three of them art from Oceania, New Guinea, and Sub-Saharan Africa with a huge number of items, including these amazing masks (sorry for the poor quality, I couldn't use flash and had to use a wierd setting):
and then "Personal Perspectives: Aspects of European Photography", a collection of early photographs of different types (plates, cyanotypes, etc.) which the husband and I are crazy about.
After visiting Samovar Tea Lounge for a bit of knitting, ice tea, and coconut pudding (plus a little trip to Imagiknit for a SP item), we went home to make tacos. I didn't take pictures because they didn't look much different from the ones I've posted about before. I did want to show off our taco fixings plate, though (featuring yellow onion, Vegan Gourmet cheese, locally grown lettuce, and cilantro):
The guacamole has to go in its own separate bowl.
In knitting news, I have a secret project I'm working on, and I'm about to start a second. So I need to make a photo that I can use as a link so that you can see the projects without the recipients of them seeing them. I am participating in the Knitting World Cup ( the charity edition) and since I couldn't access the bulky booties pattern when the Cup started, I began to make an afghan out of acrylic instead. The first rectangle is dark blue Red Heart, double-stranded, and garter stitch. I'll post photos when it gets more interesting.
On our way back from visiting the llama farm (yes, that post is coming soon), we stopped at the Bale Grist Mill Historic State Park to see the refurbished and running mill. I'd never been to a mill before and I was very excited to see one. Apparently there are various types of mills and wheels depending on where the water supply is coming from. This one is fed from the top down and when the mill pond is empty, water is pumped from a nearby river. We got there just before they closed the mill but unfortunately I was busy inside and when I went to take a video of the wheel running, they turned the water off. We got to watch a corn husker in action
and see the wheat being ground. They had two sets of stones, one for wheat berries and one for corn kernels. The round one is for corn and the octagonal is for wheat.
They can make a variety of types of flour based on how close the stones are turned together.
We will certainly go back earlier in the day but in the meantime, we came away with a bag of organic whole wheat pastry flour, locally grown and milled!
I've got some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins to make...
We went several times to eat at Veganopolis, a delicious vegan cafeteria, offering breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and a hot food buffet (by the pound). Unfortunately, they close early, at 6, to focus on lunch foods. When we went there in November, we had gone for dinner. This time, we had lunch twice. Hubby and I had the ham n cheese grill the first day, veggie ham, toffuti american, and grilled tomatoes on a nice pumpernickel, then into the panini grill. Yum! The mashed potatoes were chunkier than we like, and not quite cooked all the way through. But the sandwich was delish, as was the gravy. The second day, Hubby had the Seitan Reuben with thousand island dressing, marinated seitan, and sourkraut while I had the Tofurky melt with avocado. We both had their lemon-rosemary roasted potatoes. This time the potatoes were perfect. The hot meals we passed up looked delicious as well (lentil-nut loaf with peas and potatoes, and a Mexican lasagna with cashew cheese.) They also have a crazy brunch on Saturday mornings featuring things like bread pudding, waffles, etc. but we've never been there on a Sat. morning! Now, if only they would open a store in San Francisco...
The other restaurant we ate at was called Karam, which features Lebanese food, plus a little pizza (the owners originally owned a pizza shop.) They had a pretty good selection of vegan options, and there was way more food than we could eat.
We also stopped by Cosmic Pizza in Eugene (199 W. Eighth Ave), and had some pretty darn good vegan pizza. Not as good as Fellini in Berkeley, but still good. They grind their own organic wheat to make the flour and make the cheese there, which is like ricotta. Next time we'll try the calzones, since the cheese seemed more suited to those than pizza. Still yummy, though. And they even had vegan peanut butter chocolate truffles.!
Feast your eyes on the pastries!!! I bow down to Whole Foods on Couch St. in Portland for their amazing selection of vegan pastries! Whole Foods has their own that they make, but for the most part, I'm not a fan (except for the muffins.) But here, they have Mighty-O vegan donuts (4 kinds!), and Black Sheep Bakery's macaroons, coffeecakes (pumpkin or cranberry almond), bars (smart mix or peanut butter chocolate chip) and muffins (smart muffin or blueberry cornmeal).
This Whole Foods also offers some vegan deli items I've never seen anywhere else. We had, for breakfast, vegan biscuits with gravy, spicy hash browns, and veggie tofu scramble. On an earlier visit, they had french toast-style tofu which was really good. They also have oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins.