Sunday, August 31, 2008

More Laziness

Oh, how I love long weekends...


And husbands who do the cooking...


And tomatoes from my garden...


And handspun yarn picked up at the local fair...

Rose Garden Offset Wraplan

And pooling that looks cool...

Blue Icicle Socks

And beautifully even stitches...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Laziness

What else do you expect on the first day of a long weekend? We went to the Arden Fair this morning, but I forgot to bring my camera. Willow went crazy on the midway rides, especially the big slides, we bought her a cool tie-dyed t-shirt, and consumed the largest bag of kettle corn (and it was still hot!) that we could find.

Food Meme from Patrick's Place:

1. What was the last meal you ordered in a restaurant?

We went to the new hot dog restaurant (it's really cool) that opened up down the street, and I ordered a fried cod sandwich and chocolate milkshake. It was delicious - but huge, so I only at half of it.

2. What was the last meal you cooked for yourself?

It's been a lazy week in my house because of work this week. The last meal I put on the table was rotisseries chicken and store-bought sides from the grocery store on Thursday. If you are talking about the last meal from scratch, I made couscous with tomatoes from my garden and diced chicken on Tuesday.

3. Who was the last person you shared a meal with?

I had lunch with Willow and Andrew today.

4. Take the quiz: What Pasta Dish Are You?


You Are Spaghetti with Pesto

Compared to most people, you have complex tastes. You're a bit of a walking contradiction.

You like a little bit of everything, even if the things you like don't go together.

You aren't picky at all. You can find something to like about almost anything.

You don't judge on appearances alone. You like to experience something before you judge it.

That makes sense - I love pesto.

5. If you could only have one pasta dish for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Baked tortellini with creamy tomato sauce.

6. Check your pantry: counting products like soups that contain noodles, dry pasta and boxed meals like Hamburger Helper, how many items do you have that contain some pasta?

Ten. Hmm - I was expecting more. I guess that means I need to go grocery shopping. Incidentally, 4 of that 10 was White Cheddar Kraft Dinner.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's Parler French Test

Your result for The Let's Parler French Test...

100% LikelyToSurvive!

You scored 100% Likely To Survive in a French-speaking country.

Obviously, you get some negative points if you say 'shit' instead of thank you, or 'fuck off' instead of sorry!

Take The Let's Parler French Test at HelloQuizzy

I found this on Tez's blog.

To be fair, I did have to take a gazillion years of French in school (even if British Columbia is the most anglo of the provinces).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Foodie Bandwagon

I have a book review to write, but am not sure if it will get done tonight, so I was pleased to see this meme on Pam's blog. I'm a fairly adventurous eater and have been to a few different countries - so check my answers out.

Here's what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at Very Good Tastelinking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (We have had this for Christmas many times.)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (I couldn't! They're pretty and insidious.)
9. Borscht (I *love* borscht!)
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB & J sandwich (Always a favourite.)
14. Aloo gobi (The Indian place near me has a great buffet...)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns (oh, this brings me back to Japan!)
20. Pistachio ice cream (blech - don't like pistachios)
21. Heirloom tomatoes (in fact, have some growing in my back yard)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (Yuck!)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (courtesy of my maternal grandfather)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters(just thinking of it makes me want to vomit)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (Sourdough bowl, yes - but I can't stand bivalves)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut (not a favourite, but a childhood staple)
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (Don't smoke. Ever. But I like cognac.)
37. Clotted cream tea (In England, no less.)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Oh, the decadent uni years. We made them in jello egg molds)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Um, no thank you.)
43. Phaal (See #26)
44. Goat's milk (Goat's milk cheese - does that count?)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (It used to get very cold in Japan with no central heating...)
46. Fugu (I like not to be paralyzed, thank you very much. Plus it is bloody expensive.)
47. Chicken tikka masala (oh, yum! I love Indian food!)
48. Eel (It's called unagi in Japan)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (But I prefer Dunkin' Donuts Sour Cream Glazed)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi (Again, lived in Japan for 3 years)
53. Abalone
54. Paneer (Did I mention I love Indian food?!?!)
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (Canadian, here.)
59. Poutine (Canadian, again.)
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads (Courtesy of my Dad who wouldn't tell me what it was until after I had eaten them.)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst (But I would probably like this.)
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (I'd have to say three of the four - I don't think I have ever had beignets.)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (Never say never. My sister says in the Yukon people sign up to get the roadkill.)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail (urgh..)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (And many different kinds at that!)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (We used to get a cake at work that had candied flowers on it.)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (My FIL *loves* this stuff!)
92. Soft shell crab (For the first time at Asami and Gara's wedding.)
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish (I am honestly not sure on this one)
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (Many bagels - I'm drawing a blank on the lox, though)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (Andrew loves this - I'm ambivalent.)
100. Snake (Again, courtesy of my sneaky Dad.)


Try it out - and if you do, let me know you put up your answers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Touch That Dial!

Why is it that I am not even an American citizen, but I am addicted to watching the Democratic National Convention?

One of these days (probably sooner rather than later) I will have to pony up and get the citizenship paperwork done. I've lived in the US for ten years now, and as much as this probably breaks my mother's heart, I don't see us ever moving to Canada. Andrew couldn't practice law there and I don't think I would ever get the job I have now (which I love despite that it is running me a bit ragged right now) or anything close to it in Canada.

I suppose it is the identity that is harder to give up. I know that the Canadian government does not recognize the renunciation of former citizenship statement you must make when becoming an American citizen. But it's a part of me, you know?

Oh, it's much too late at night and I'm getting a bit maudlin. I hope Andrew appreciates everything I slough off to be here with him. Name, country, citizenship... my head hurts thinking about it all.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vacation Photo Round Up

Brace yourselves - I wanted to present some more vacation photos, but I am afraid there isn't much rhyme or reason to the order of the pictures.

This one is for Disco, who sent me two onesies for my niece, Dharma. The Sweet Pea one was too small, but that is okay - I will keep it for another baby I know is coming. Thank you!


This was the sky over Nanaimo as we approached the Duke Point Ferry Terminal - that mountain is called 'Jingle Pot Mounatin' - isn't that hilarious? The weather was so breezy and cool that day we had to break out our fleece jackets and wear those - I was in heaven.


My sister Teri wanted to straighten Willow's hair for her - and was shocked that Willow managed to sit somewhat still for it (with only minor gnashing of teeth from Teri). I think we were all shocked at how long it was.


My Dad told her it was much prettier curly and would she please go back to normal the next day. I agree. It's a novelty to have straight hair, but her curls are so adorable.


I'm not sure what is up with this facial expression. She and I were walking through a wooden park near my parents' house and this tree had a little natural seat at its base so I told her to sit so I could take the picture.


I wish I had put something else in this picture just to give the scope of this maple leaf - you will have to trust me when I say it was 12 - 14" across.


This picture was taken at the Duke Point Ferry Terminal on our way home. I love seeing these things in different cities - we have dinosaurs in Wilmington - and we have seen pigs in Seattle and cows in Denver. Apparently Nanaimo has orcas.


This is the swimming area near my parents' house - I didn't do any of the swimming this time because the days we could go swimming just weren't warm enough for me. Willow had no such concerns and was in the water every chance she got.


This is the apple tree off of my parents' back patio - the tree is going crazy this year - I foresee plenty of baking, freezing, and canning in my mom's near future. That is, if the bears don't get them first. Yes, I said bears.


Now, what are those little globular things between the apples? Grapes! My Dad thought he had trimmed back the grapes so much that they wouldn't grow, but apparently that isn't the case - there are grapes all over the apple tree. On the other side of the yard they have even started growing up a cedar tree!


My Mom, Dad, and Etu the dog:


The whole fam-damily. You don't even want to know how many pictures were taken to get one where almost everyone was looking at the camera and smiling. Thank heaven for digital cameras.


The water off of Duke Point. Once again, we don't have colours like that here. The water here is a greyish-blue - not pretty like this at all.


This is a famous creation statue in the Vancouver International Airport. It has great natural lighting above.


I love how there is this burnished area in front where so many people have touched the statue.


And - since I started this vacation series a few posts back with the first picture I took on vacation of the Thunderbird statue, I now give you the last picture I took on vacation - a wooden raven statue in the International Departures area of the Vancouver International Airport.


Willow and I had a wonderful time - I love going back to visit my family. I always wish I could stay longer and that our vacation times weren't limited to the summer or winter when Willow is not in school.

Here is a list of things I want to do the next time I go to Vancouver Island:

1. Take Willow for a fancy tea at Murchies or The Empress or the Oak Bay Tea Room.
2. Walk leisurely through Beacon Hill Park.
3. Tube down the Cowichan River.
4. Take Willow camping.
5. Drive out to Ucluelet and Tofino.
6. Eat fish and chips on the beach.
7. Eat more timbits.
8. Hang out in Chapters or Bolen Books and buy a bunch of books by Canadian authors for Willow.

Shan? Tara? Any more suggestions of things I need to do on the Island?

Friday, August 22, 2008

YPF: The Scenic Version

Stay with me - it's worth it.

Last Thursday my sisters and their children headed back home, so the population at my parents' house dropped from nine people to four people. Before we came out to Vancouver Island, I told my Mom that there was only one thing I absolutely wanted to do - I wanted to spend a day in Victoria.

A little background - I lived in Victoria for 5 years while I attended UVic and the place is just chock full of nostalgia for me. When I graduated and left for Japan, I honestly thought I would live and work in Japan long enough to pay off my student loans and then would head back to Victoria to live. I never anticipated meeting a tall, handsome (American!) man in Japan and getting married - much less moving to the East Coast when all was said and done.

So, as soon as Teri and Jaime left, Mom, Willow, and I hopped in the car and headed down the Malahat to Victoria. It was the perfect day to tool around a city on the water. After eating a quick lunch outside of the city, our next stop was the Beehive Wool Shop - and I know that those of you who have been on the knitting cruises know this shop very well. Incidentally, when I was in university (and barely even crocheted) this was not a wool shop, but rather a suspect place that sold all sorts of tacky gifts from Mexico and Central America.

Beehive is far enough out of the downtown core that we didn't have any trouble finding anywhere to park, but we were out of luck when we tried parking downtown. For a Thursday afternoon, every single parkade we came across was strangely full (damn tourists!). So, I ended up taking a lot of pictures from the car, such as The Empress Hotel:


Some of the hanging baskets that Victoria is famous for:


British Columbia's Parliament Building. I never considered how European this structure before - many government buildings here are very utilitarian (well, maybe with the exception of Philadelphia's City Hall which was designed after the Louvre).


While looking for a parking spot, I saw a couple of electric boxes on street corners that had been painted to look less of an eyesore. I wish I had thought to take pictures of some of the others, but here is one painted with apples:


And another hanging basket:


After circling the downtown core for far too long, we decided to head out to other areas of Victoria. We drove through Beacon Hill Park and parked a little south at Clover Point to walk down to the water.


Walking down the ramp I found this boulder (easily 3 feet across) that someone had carved a face into. It was beautiful - I just can't imagine how long it took someone to do that.


On our way back up the Malahat, Willow was determined to stop at one of the look outs - so my Mom stopped at the Split Rock lookout and I took this picture. I had to make it small here - but click on the link and go to Flickr and look at the larger size - the scope of the picture is amazing.

Split Rock Look Out

Okay - now for what you all have been waiting for as it is YPF - the yarn I bought in Canada.

This skein is Ultra Alpaca sock yarn, which I have never seen down here in Delaware. The colour is deceiving - at first glance you may think it is a denim blue, but when you get closer...


... you will notice strains of purple and dark green in it as well.


And of course I had to get some Canadian yarn! Here is my Fleece Artist Seal Wool sock yarn:


I like the muted colours and I am eager to see how they knit up.


And best of all - it is machine washable!


I also bought some Araucania Ranco Multy sock yarn:


I thought it was more blue and less purple when I bought it - but I still like it.


My LYS sells Panda sock yarn, but I have never seen the Panda Silk yarn there, so I had to snap it up. I struggled between the green colourway and the red colourway - and in the end the green won out because I know I have red sock yarn at home.


Aren't the greens pretty? I think these will make for exceptionally soft and shiny socks.


And lastly - a Willow original. She told me this is a picture of her and Lucky looking at themselves in a mirror. Pretty inventive, don't you think?


Now don't you think that was worth the long post?


On a personal note, thank you for all the emails, comments, and IMs. It really means a lot to me. I'm feeling better and I will be okay.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I've waited here for you


I wonder
when I sing along with you
if everything could ever feel this real forever
if anything could ever be this good again

'Everlong', Foo Fighters

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Highlight of My Trip


Contrast that picture with the one from this post of just me and Willow on the ferry five years ago. My Mom has had an explosion of grandchildren in the last 30 months. The photo is a little dark, but from L-R there is my youngest sister Jaime, her 2 year old son Will, my Willow, Teri (middle sister)'s six-month old daughter Dharma, me, and Jaime's eight-month old son, Hunter. Teri would have been in the picture, but someone had to play cameraman.

I could not get enough of Dharma - so much so that Teri accused me of trying to pass off her daughter as my own.


How could you not? She has a very sweet disposition and always feel asleep on me (something that Willow never did).

Here is my Mom and Hunter:


Now, he is a handful - 2 months older and about 9 pounds heavier than Dharma. He has started to eat solids, and in Willow's words, if he doesn't have food in his mouth, "he is yelling his head off!" In his defense, he was teething and two teeth popped out while we were on the Island. He has these bright blue eyes - I sure hope they stay that way.


Will is Willow's closest-in-age Canadian cousin, and the two of them got along famously.


Sometimes too much so. There was the odd bumping of heads and crashing into walls, and I am afraid Will took the brunt of it. He couldn't say Willow so he called her 'Lolo.' Teri and Jaime and their kids slept in a camper on my parents' property as my parents only have a small cottage. Will would tear into the house in the morning shouting, "Lolo! Where Lolo!?"


And no, he isn't angry in the picture. Teri made the mistake of telling Will to open his eyes for the picture (he was doing the same squinty-eyed cheesy grin thing Willow does) and that was the result.


I love the look on Dharma's face here - she reminds me so much of Teri as a baby, but Teri showed us a picture of her husband Carl as a baby and Dharma looks like him as well. Whatever the combination, she's a pretty baby.

All the P Girls and their progeny:


Okay - scenery pictures next time!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Safe And Sound

Willow and I arrived safely home this afternoon - after a car, boat, plane, train, another plane, tow truck, and 2 block walk home... more on that later.

I have over 100 photos to sort through - but just to get off to a good start, here is the first picture I took in Vancouver. The thunderbird is immense - easily 25 - 30 feet across, and you pass under it when you go through International Arrivals at the Vancouver International Airport.