Wednesday, December 31, 2008

part three

3) Do something you've never done before. Repeat as many times as possible.

Oh yeah

I've never taken a cooking class before and neither has Jesse, so we decided to take one together while we were in Oaxaca.

We decided on a traditional Oaxacan menu. We arranged for a class with Nora Valencia through, Las Bugambilias Bed and Breakfast. Nora took us to a local market nearby where we shopped for our ingredients. She explained how to find the freshest and best of the market.

Nora shopping at the market

This vendor lives in the hills around Oaxaca and had fresh picked her ingredients of squash flowers, herbs, and corn early in the morning before coming to market.

I was enthralled with the families working the booths together. Even the booths I normally wouldn't find tasty were attractive.

Sausages anyone?

Sausages anyone?

Then Nora took us into her lovely home, the highlight of which I must say was the cucina. A dream kitchen in any home.

Noras' cucina

We made tamales in this happy, and many times blessed, tamale pot.

Happy Tamale Pot

We also made moles, a soup and the stuffed squash flowers seen above. They were gone so quickly I don't have any pictures of the rest. But we enjoyed eating them very much in Noras dining room.

Noras' Dining Room

A lovely experience, one our friend Alvin has written about much better in this article. We've already attempted to recreate the tamales here at home, while not quite as good as the ones we made in Oaxaca, they were tasty enough to keep trying. I'm hoping for many more culinary adventures in the New Year.

(Doesn't Jesse look cute in an apron?)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

part two

2) Bring two of your best friends along with you.

Looking out

Even though I had thought of celebrating la Dia de los Muertos for my birthday as a kid, I forgot when I grew up. Opie reminded me. She called me to say, we're turning 30. It's a big deal. We should do it together. She was right.

Opie got her first passport to make this trip! Here she is admiring a mermaid at the Santo Domingo Museum. Aren't they both lovely?

Opie and I have been best friends for 15 years. In high school we used to dream about going on trips like this, to see first hand what we were learning about in Art History. This was our chance to do that together.

Jesse is up for going anywhere, that doesn't have assassin bugs, that is. So I knew he'd be on board. Here he is in the Santo Domingo library which contains Pre-Columbian codices.

I know this isn't what the bookstore he works in looks like, but this is how I picture him at work. Surrounded by ancient leather bound manuscripts with a little smile on his face.

Jesse and Opie both have adventurous appetites, for music, food, language and culture. I'm so glad they wanted to go on this adventure with me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How To Turn 30, part one.

or at least How I Turned 30.

1)Find a country that celebrates a holiday on your birthday.

I've wanted to visit Oaxaca, Mexico since the age of 9 when my childcraft encylopedia told me that November 2 is Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It's much more fun than it sounds.

Celebrating this holiday means you remember those who have died and celebrate their lives. While keeping in mind that our days our numbered too and we should enjoy the ones we have. Part of the celebration is staying overnight in your families cemetery. We were lucky enough to visit two. One that is the main cemetery for Oaxaca, which is huge and old and another that was smaller and more intimate.

candelit aisle

skull grave


There was music and marigolds, a carnival atmosphere with food stalls and rides outside of the cemetery. Everyone seems to come out. Families stay all night with their loved ones, playing live music and drinking to them.

I found myself getting teary thinking of my grandmothers and grandfather who have died. Seeing people grieving and celebrating at the same time. It was really touching. I wish that we did more in my family to make a point of remembering those who have died.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tilth Harvest Fair

Zophie is one of my friends who loves to look at goats, chickens and rabbits as much as I do. And doesn't she look good doing it too?

Zophie Loves Goats

So when we heard that Seattle Tilth was having a harvest fair we were all in!

The location for the Harvest Fair was the Good Shepherd Center, a location so lovely I had my wedding reception there last summer. While there is a beautiful 100 year old building on the grounds, at one time used to shepherd "wayward girls", this time we were purely interested in the outside.

Good Shepherd Garden

And all kinds of kids. (Sorry for the pun.) Tie dye was definitely in vogue here.

Hippie Kids Love Goats

You can't forget the chickens! I was fascinated by this tiny coop. If only the chickens could be happy on my tiny balcony. But I don't own one square inch of dirt. I'm sure they'd want something to peck and scratch in.

Tiny Chicken Coop

It was a beautiful day. I love learning about composting, gardening and animal caretaking. It keeps me somewhat satisfied while I wait for a little piece of dirt. I've been on a community garden wait list for about 2 years.

Good Shepherd Center

But if you can't afford to buy a piece of dirt, make your own? Jesse teases me about making my worm dirt. Or more properly, vermicomposting, but I'm happy to make my own dirt. I'll add it to houseplants, throw it over a fence, whatever. I'm happy to be composting indoors. It's the least I can do and it's like a new pet around the house! Well lots of little red wiggly pets anyway.

Thanks to Karen for giving me worms! (You know what I mean.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Portland is My Kind of Town

Had a little weekend get away with Jesse, technically for his birthday, but I was the one who really wanted to get out of town. And if I'm not going to Bellingham I'm usually going to Portland. So Portland it was.

We stayed at The Grand Lodge, a McMenamins place in Forest Grove, OR. In case you were wondering this is NOT that close to Portland... especially if there is a detour. After some turnabouts in long fields of corn we made our way safely to the hotel. It is a really fun place to stay, with lots of paintings like this:

Grand Lodge Interior

(but less blurry) to commemorate the people who have contributed to the history of the area or the Lodge itself. There are also large metallic slides, leftover from when it was a retirement home for Masons. Apparently they were for evacuation in case of fire, but they don't look that safe to me! I even heard from a friend that her husband broke his tailbone on one!

The best thing about the Lodge is the disc golf course. According to the Lodge site: "The object of the game is to complete each hole on the course in the fewest number of throws and land your disc in an elevated metal basket commonly referred to as a disc catcher." For me, the goal was not to get my disc too muddy and to stay somewhat near the baskets. Jesse takes this pretty seriously, I think this was how I got him to agree to this trip in the first place.

He takes it pretty seriously. First the wind up.

Pull Back

Then the release.


Whereas I am more of a Sunday in the park type thrower.

Not Going In

As close as I am to the basket, that disc is not going in. Well it was my first game.

The first place we ate in town was also my favorite. It's the Little Red Bike Cafe on N Lombard. They serve delicious sandwiches and coffee.

Little Red Bike Cafe

I also opted for the Buttermilk Berry Shake. Definitely worth seeking out!

Yummy Shake

There are definitely yarn stores in Portland. We visited a few, but there are many more.

We visited Twisted PDX on NE Broadway. They have one-page reproductions of all of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s original newsletters for $1 each! I snatched up several including the hand to hand aran pullover. They also had several of her and Lucy Neatbys dvds. Some Japanese knitting books. Many beautiful shop samples, but I didn't take any pictures at this stop! Bad blogger.

However I did buy this pattern too, perhaps for next spring?

We also went to Knittn' Kitten on NE Glisan, it's a thrift, craft store! Can you believe it? Two of my favorite things combined. They had a variety of sewing notions, buttons, snaps, etc. Lots of vintage fabric for only a couple of dollars a yard. I am just starting my sewing obsession, so I'm trying to take it slow. I bought a few yards of fabric, but don't have pictures quite yet. Some vintage knitting books. For when I have kids and want to dress them like old people. :) With the names I'll give them it'll all work out. They had yarn, but shockingly enough I didn't buy any yarn on this trip. No one can believe it.

We went to The Dig thrift store, where Jesse bought a few clothes but I didn't find anything. The prices were great I just didn't see as much in my size. Definitely worth a look especially if you're in the neighborhood.

We went to the Mill End Store which is just fabulous. I was a bit overwhelmed. Their Simplicity patterns were 99 cents! They had tons of fabric in a warehouse, with a very nice staff. Their oilcloth was the cheapest I've seen. Jesse triumphantly helped me pick out this fig pattern.


All in all a great trip. I'll have more pictures of the spoils I returned with soon!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Proof for my sister in Japan that I celebrated the Fourth of July in proper fashion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Think of Every Town You've Lived In

I was also able to go to the Bellingham Farmers Market on my short visit. Besides delicious crepes, honey, and fruit they have musicians:

Bellingham Farmers Market

handspun Spincycle yarn:

I drool on this booth every time

and what that yarn can become:

Spincycle Garments

As well as Moth and Squirrel Toys, that share a booth with Spincycle:

Moth & Squirrel, w/Spincycle

and Rachel, a Spincycler herself!

Spincycle Rachel

Yes, there's a lot to love about Bellingham. I know Carly and Andy love it too. Just look at those smiling faces!

Carly and Andy May 2008

But I had to go home sometime, and when you leave Bellingham I suggest you do it by train.


It's a lovely view, hugging the coastline of the Pacific. If you can get them to show The Harvey Girls for in board entertainment I suggest that too.

My train was most accommodating.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Keep Bellingham Weird

Recently, I was able to go to Bellingham for a long Memorial Day weekend. A trip that was long overdue. I find Bellingham both surprising and relaxing, comforting and ever changing.

For instance while hanging out at the Black Drop Coffeehouse I noticed this passing by.

Wig Out Crowd

Suddenly my everyday brown hair just became a little... mousier.

Wig Out Day

It's not every day you wish you'd bought a wig.

Wig Out Info

There's always next year, as this is an annual event in B'ham. There isn't a real reason for it, they just say its a Fun-raiser. I love this town.

But my real reason for coming up was Opie.

Kat and Opie May 2008

She'd moved to a new house, had a new dog and was slogging through school when I came up to see her. But she still managed to find time to take me to one of our favorite breakfast spots, The Little Cheerful Cafe. Those smiles mean we know we came to the right place.

This was the first place I ate at when I moved to Bellingham for college in 2000. Like a lot of Bellingham it has changed, but it's still colorful and funky. Decorated with cancan girls, mermaids and even a pterodactyl kite

Little Cheerful Cafe

And I had the chance to get better acquainted with Opies' friend Chase.

Chase at the Cheerful

Can't you just tell he's fun? I certainly thought so, and this is an especially good thing to know as Chase will be accompanying us on an Opie/John/Jesse/Kat trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in the Fall.

Opie and I are turning 30. Yes, 30. And to celebrate we are taking a trip I've wanted to take for a long time. I've always wanted to celebrate my birthday in Mexico, as it is Dia de los Muertos. 30 seems like an especially good birthday to realize some dreams.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Playing Tourist

Saturday I played tourist in my own town.

I got up early on the sunniest day of the year, so far and headed to Pike Place Market. Just enjoying seeing so many people out soaking up the sunshine, walking their dogs and showing off their babies. I walked through Post Alley and appreciated the various graffiti and collages, enjoying how they play off eachother and contine to change with time.

Post Alley Graffiti

Then I walked North to the Olympic Sculpture Park. It was a little further away from downtown than I thought it would be, but worth every step. This view is from a pedestrian bridge on the way.


I love how Mt. Ranier seems above it all, mightier than the largest stadium, more majestic than any shipping crane and more mysterious than the ferry boats.

Here's the waterfront portion of the park with the Olympic mountains in the background. It's still a new park, the grass is coming in and the whole place feels very manicured.

Seattle Waterfront

I saw two security guards on foot and one in a golf cart. Seemed like a lot of supervision for the laidback tourists. Certainly for one knitter.

Calder vs. Space Needle

This guy and I had the same idea for a shot. I imagine his is improved for my not being in it. ;)


I made a little progress on the sock I started. It's a very simple, just go round and round type of sock using some long ago purchased Koigu, colorway Thanksgiving I believe. Since this picture I've made it to the heel!

A sock as work of art

I finished off my downtown adventures at Anthropologie where I managed to find pants for $10! And a cute new robe, for considerably more. Not to mention that later that evening I went to my first Gay Bingo.

It was such a good day that I almost don't mind the wicked sunburn I have, in April.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hilltop Fire Sale

For those of you who survived you don't need to hear the tales of glory.

For those of us who weren't there, we never got to test our mettle.

I bring you, the Hilltop Fire Sale.

People were lined up for hours before the store opened.

I'm not sure anything like this had ever happened on Queen Anne before.

Once the doors opened the store was instantly wall to wall people.

Congratulations to the stash enhancers! I've seen your haul on ravelry. :)

If you see me at Hilltop I'll be the one behind the register trying to reorder yarn as fast as I can. :) There's some books, patterns and needles still left on sale.

We'll see you all again as soon as you've recovered!

*All pictures are from Martine as I was a big chicken, at home knitting in my pjs.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chilly Hilly

Today was the annual Chilly Hilly bike ride on Bainbridge Island. Now I'm not in shape to bike 33 miles and truth be told I don't even own a bike. However, that didn't keep me from being part of the support team!

Some Hilltop knitters rode in the race and some more of us chose to support them by shopping for yarn and fabric, as well as eating some delicious food.

Here's Shannon enjoying a beverage after the race. Which is actually a tiny dessert.

I managed to find a little something to treat myself with, isn't it pretty?

It's a dark chocolate tart filled with caramel and a mocha on the side. Yum.

I also managed to wear my new favorite sweater.

Obviously, Seth likes it. Or he's just proud that he actually did bike 33 miles.

I'm especially proud of these darts.

Spincycle Boatneck

I started with the Boatneck Bluebell pattern from Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel, and then I went my own way. This yarn is so beautiful I didn't think it needed much embellishment.

Stripey Stripes

The yarn is a worsted weight merino from Spincycle Yarns, in the "Castaways and Cutouts" colorway. It goes with everything I own.