Tuesday, July 29, 2008

hello, internets

I had a week of good food - lentils and kale and very tasty wine and fresh roasted beets. It's very easy to eat well when the farmer's markets are so filled with great fresh vegetables.

There was one bump in the healthy road, when Hubby and I went to a lounge for some drinks and a little dinner. The Sapphire Lounge used to be a House of Ill Repute, but they make some very tasty cocktails. There was the Lounge Singer, with fig-infused bourbon and pomegrante juice - a sort of Manhattan. And there was also the Concierge: cucumber-infused gin with Pimms', lemonade, and ginger beer. One of the lovely things about Portland is the relative affordability of cocktails. Most cocktails here cost around $8, and are almost always made with very high-quality ingredients. My trip to New York reminded me that it's quite un-extraordinary to pay at least $12 for a drink. And don't get me started about the specials on beer during happy hours: it's crazy cheap! Portland is nice...

The week wasn't the best for me, spirits-wise, but I'm feeling much better now. Over the weekend I attended the Pacific Northwest Salmon Bake that was part of the International Pinot Noir Celebration. I loved seeing the salmon lined up on their stakes. It isn't the most gentle cooking method, but it's just a great image that I could deal with overcooked salmon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

welcome home

I'm back in Portland, and not a moment too soon. I guess that it takes a trip back to the old country to realize that I've truly adopted Portland as my home. My trip was hectic, slightly chaotic, and filled with bad news at the end.* Looking back, I can't really believe that I made it through so many New York summers with that heat and humidity. I sought refuge in the central air-conditioned basement of some friends at the very end, and knit on a sock while watching the Yankees. It was so very hot. It is so very not here in Portland. I heart Portland.

*Yes, the bad news means some bad times for Hubby and me, and some people we love, but we'll make it through.

I ate tremendously good food while I was there. The Chinese Parsley dumplings at Dim Sum Go Go nearly brought me to tears, as did the pizza on Sunday evening that was so thin - even when folded in half, as pizza should be eaten. The waterfalls were cool, but not equal to the awe-inspiring Gates a few winters ago.

Sunday morning, I was very happy to hop on my bike, and pedal off to the local farmers' market with Hubby, where I stocked up on fresh greens and produce for the week ahead. I was away, and now Hubby is in and out for most of this week, so I have the opportunity to detox from my week of gluttony to my heart's content. It is surely necessary. The gluttony also prompted my first visit to the city pool that's just three block away. I went this afternoon, and swam for 45 minutes or so. It felt great (except for when I inhaled big amounts of water through my nose), but I reserve the right to whine incessantly tomorrow. I have a feeling that there will be some very sore muscles when I awake. But it's all good here in Portland.

Monday, July 14, 2008

welcome back

I'm squatting in a colleague's office this week. I walked in and found this mug on the desk. I'd left the mug here back in April, which I painted in Philadelphia back in 2000, perhaps?

It's highly strange to be back. Three months isn't a very long time, and things haven't changed much. There's new furniture in the office lobby (ugly), and lots of people I don't recognize. It's hard to believe that I lived in this humidity for so many years. My cab driver was Turkish, and we talked about food while I directed him to his first trip to Washington Heights. He kept saying, "Four years driving a cab, and I've never been up there! There are no yellow cabs there!" But it was fine. I gave him a generous tip for his trouble, and finally got to go inside the Cloisters.

I ate a lot of pizza last night - thin crusts are so heavenly - and had an everything bagel this morning. I'd forgotten how filling bagels are, and at mid-afternoon, I'm not sure if I will eat anything until dinner.
However, it might be good to make a trip to Pinkberry, because the fro-yo craze hasn't hit Portland. Yes, Pinkberry is the answer.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

growing, growing

My pots of herbs out front aren't growing so well (how is it that I can't even grow mint?), but the Icarus Shawl is expanding. I've finally memorized the pattern, and I'm making progress. The pictures of this aren't going to be exciting at all, but this will be the last one until I reach some fancy border action.

So, next week it turns out that I'm going to be back in New York (work stuff, but time for visiting, too). I never thought that I'd be back, especially less than three months after moving. On my agenda: the waterfalls, bagels, pizza, and Momofuku Ssam. I'm not really sure how to fit in all of my food requirements, but an unlimited Metrocard seems like it will be key.

Oh, and the personal fireworks displays here over the weekend were very freaky for me, coming from a state where they aren't allowed. People can buy and set off huge blasts. So scary. It really is the wild west!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

doing my part

I did a little to help the economy of St. Helena, CA over the weekend. While most of our economic stimulus check was spent on the (very dull) rent, I did buy some new sock yarn. I only had three skeins of Regia sock yarn in my stash! It was necessary!

I do love Regia sock yarn, and I've been very good about knitting from my vast stores of stash for quite a while. And Hubby says that he will knit the Kaffe Fassett yarn into socks for himself, so long as I do the hard parts. That's a deal I'll accept any day!

While struggling through some computer problems this week, I needed a little project to keep nearby, as an attempt to keep my cool. I found this hat upstairs, with about 8 rounds completed. Technical difficulties continued, and I finished this earlier today. It's Silky Wool, and an improv-ed pattern. I grafted the last stitches, and it seems to be a good solution to prevent a bump on the top of your noggin. It fits me well, very snug, and I think it will work under my bike helmet when the weather gets chilly. I'm going to try and keep working on my languishing projects from upstairs throughout the summer. The yarns aren't in my Ravelry stash, so I won't have the pleasure of marking them as used, but it'll be good to get finished objects more quickly! Instant gratification...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

we made it!

Leaving the town of Napa earlier this week, we hit a milestone.

100,000! The car made it, through fires and smoke (OK, we weren't really close to the fires, but there was a lot of smoke), and the heat.

We won't be doing that drive again. I will purchase carbon emission offsets to make up for the fact that we'll fly. But with gas prices what they are, we didn't save a heck of a lot of money by driving.

I finished a pair of socks, which previously were my "Emergency Office Socks", to pinch hit should I run into a knitting emergency at work and need something to do on my commute. Since my commute now involves going into our dining room, it was time to get them finished. I do love me some Regia sock yarn, and happened to acquire some more while we were away.

I also continued to have lace problems with Icarus, and the other socks I started were pooling rather unpleasantly. But I pulled out a long-lingering hat, and have been cruising along happily there. It's time to catch a bus downtown, so I'm packing up my projects and hitting the road (again).