Thursday, October 30, 2008

Synecdoche, New York

I've been disappointed with the last few movies I've seen in the theatre. I guess it didn't help that I wasn't excited to see some of them in the first place (hello, Body of Lies). Thankfully, I now have something to look forward to: Synecdoche, New York. Charlie Kaufman! Philip Seymour Hoffman! Catherine Keener (a new favourite)!

It opens on November 14. Want to go?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Living skies

The licence plates in Saskatchewan claim the province is the land of the living skies. Hear, hear! This photo was taken behind Rosetown Central High School during our visit home for Thanksgiving. Isn't it strange to think that I once watched football on those same bleachers? Wearing my matching Rosetown Royals hoody and jogging pants? That's what happens when you're in grade eight and you have a crush on a footall player. Don't let it happen to you!

We had lots of family time, including two Thanksgiving dinners, but our camera was focussed on our nephew for the most part. Can you blame us?

Birthday update: I didn't bake anything for Michael's birthday, but I did take him to Pure Vanilla, an amazing bakery in Oak Bay, on Sunday. The cakes were tempting, but he opted for a selection of cookies (pumpkin cookies with maple icing, anyone?).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Back track

I've spent the week eating poorly and cleaning the house in slow motion. That's what happens when Michael goes away. He was working in Duncan this week, and I just found out that he gets to come home today (a couple of days early). Also, it's his birthday, so I'm extra happy to have him in my grasp. However, I'm a little frantic because I didn't plan any birthday stuff. For example, I won't be making the cupcakes that I made last year. Nor will I be making this angel food cake. I'll let you know what I come up with.

I've been meaning to tell you about our September Cowichan Bay adventure, so I'm just going to go ahead and do it. Zoe and Dan (yes, yes we are friends with another couple with the same names) wanted to spend a day in the country, so we decided to check out the Cowichan Wine and Culinary Festival.

We live so close to Cowichan Bay, but Michael was the only one who had ever been before. I'm glad we made the effort. I could live there.

We tasted wine at Cherry Point Vineyards and cheese at Hilary's Cheese Company. Some of us had treats at True Grain Bakery and then we had lunch next door. I can't remember what the place was called, but the meats and cheeses and soups were delicious. We were too late for samples at Merridale Ciderworks, but we bought some cider from their store all the same.

One of the most interesting attractions was Keating Farm. We tasted different types of sauerkraut and learned how to make it without vinegar. I got the impression that it's very good for you, and I have it on my Things Worth Making radar (along with those cute signs, of course).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Knitting a scarf

I've been knitting. I didn't finish a single knitting project last year, so I bought beautiful wool to help myself succeed this time around.

This is what my scarf looks like so far:

It'll be a lacy scarf, like one I made for my mom two years ago (knit one, yarn over, knit two together). I'm not going to try anything new until I get through a simple scarf. In fact, I may stick to scarves for the rest of my life. I figure I can wrap scarves around my body if I ever have to clothe myself with my knitting skills. Right?

Are you wondering about that pink piece of yarn, threaded through my project? It's a place holder, just in case I screw up the simple pattern and don't want to start from square one. It has already come in handy, friends. Do you remember teaching me that trick, Sarah? Thanks!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tonight, tonight won't be just any night...

I've been blogging in my head for the last week or so, but I guess that doesn't count. I'm posting this photo to hold you over until I get around to a real post (tomorrow! or the next day!):

I'm watching West Side Story tonight! Some of us have been making tentative plans to (re)watch this movie for a long time (years). It's finally happening. Look at those outfits!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kiss me, I voted

I'm going to Saskatchewan this weekend! We'll be traveling back to B.C. on Tuesday, so we decided to get our voting out of the way early. I didn't want travel delays (whether caused by weather and/or airline bankruptsy) to hamper my voting rights, you know? While my vote is in the bag, I'm still excited for the rest of you voters.

Miranda July wrote about why you should vote a while back (I think Brie flagged it when it was first posted on her website), and I've pasted the text below, for your encouragement. Miranda also made a little website about supporting Obama, for those of you who are interested in another important election.

Here’s why you should vote: you are going to really love it, the whole strange procedure. You get to walk right into a building that you would never normally be allowed in, often an elementary school. You can pause in the hallway to look at all the weird school-art and feel the eerie vibe of hundreds of kids living their endless kid lives right nearby. Then you follow the arrows to the voting room and look at the faces of the volunteers - who are these people? There is a hush of secrecy, the voting booth is clunky, the whole thing seems fake somehow. You consider filling in all the bubbles, like you did on the SATs. But you don’t. You vote. You walk back outside feeling like you just gave blood or something, lightheaded from citizenry. You are wearing a sticker that says “I Voted” and you wish you could continue to get stickers like this throughout the day: I Ate Dinner, I Went To Sleep, I Got Out Of Bed, I Went To Work. But alas, it is just this one thing that we all do together, savor it.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy voting!

P.S. Check out Things Worth Making, if you haven't done so lately. There's been a lot of action over there!

Guest post: Making myself a sweater

So, here's that sweater I was taking about! After a little break from knitting, I picked this back up last night, and we seem to be back on track! I'm making this sweater, which I think I discovered in Ravelry. It's such a blur when I go there, but I'm pretty sure that's right!

This is the second sweater-for-myself attempt I have made. The first round, armed with enthusiasm and a gift certificate, began with neglect (I didn't check my gauge) and ended with disappointment (a hilariously small sweater). Not so this time! I learned my lesson, did a pretty huge gauge swatch, and this is shaping up to actually fit!

So far I've knit the back, and one of the fronts. The picture is the second front. I'd say that puts me about halfway!

Updates to follow!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Making the apartment functional

Quite a few of my friends are on cleaning and/or purging kicks right now. Some of those same friends have noted that Michael and I don't have a lot of clutter in our apartment. I guess that's sort of true (we purged a lot of junk when we moved to Victoria), but I don't feel like our things are organized with function in mind.

A couple of weeks ago I took a small step to remedy that flaw, AND I finally used the drill that my parents gave me for Christmas: I put up some hooks to prevent us from hanging all of our things on door knobs. The one pictured here is my favorite addition. I found it for 5 bucks at Fan Tan Gallery.

In addition to providing a practical feature, I think these types of details help make an apartment feel more like a home. Sure, we can't change the old linoleum in the kitchen, but we can drill holes into the backs of our doors. That is, we can do it until our building manager finds out and gives us heck.

Vélib means "bike freedom"

Michael and I are fans of the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, because the Vélib bike program was his brainchild. We didn't try it while we were there, because, you know, we didn't really want to ride around an unfamiliar city without bike helmets on, but we were impressed by it all the same. It's a good idea, and people actually use the bikes.

We didn't think that a similar program would work in a Canadian city (especially because of the bike helmet issue), but then I saw this Vancouver Sun article. The wheels are turning in Vancouver, and I thought you might like to know.

Side note: I have tentative plans to put photos on Flickr and other plans to stop writing about Europe. I'm going to try to get there by the end of the week.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Guest post: Making new recipes - Stewed Peppers a l'internet

Tonight I tried a new recipe from the New York Times. We ate it with polenta.


Not only was it a warm, salty plateful of deliciousness, but making it steamed up the windows, which I love. Seasons! Warmth! New tastes!

I highly recommend this one.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Making it ok to eat two cookies at once

You may have noticed that I have a blog crush on Inside a Black Apple. Strangely, the focus of my attention is on her edible projects, not her art projects (for which she is more than a little famous). I like that she takes time to make decadent treats for herself, and I like her taste, so it's easy to see what I keep going back for more.

On Sunday, I searched her Food and Drink archives for a cookie recipe, and I found photos of peanut butter cookie sandwiches from this Cottage Living recipe. They were as good as they look in the photo, above. I thought that the peanut butter icing might be a bit much, but it's not the case. But then again, I only ate two of the sandwiches in the end, because my new plan of action is to make decadent treats so I can have one (or two) and give the rest away.