Artichokes and Pink Martini

If you like artichokes, Pink Martini, knitting, then read on. If you are interested in the woes of losing the last 20 lbs or working in education, then read on. If you want to know what it's like to be an empty nester or to share that nest with to two dogs, then read on. If you want to know what the theme is for Monday night dinner, when the kayaks are going out, or who was at the Y at 5am, then read on. If none of this interests you, just hit the button that says "next blog", & read on.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A beautiful day

Talk about amazing weather for April. I think it hit 84 degrees in Portland today. Sunny, clear and perfect.

The workshop that I went to was great. And we got out early so, I high tailed it to the Naked Sheep (a Portland yarn store). What a cute shop. With spring green walls.

Love the little sheep logo. I am telling you, Tacoma knitters, we need to do a Portland yarn crawl.

After the workshop & yarn shop, I was starving. So I talked to Nick (the hotel valet) to find a great place for dinner. If you want a great restaurant don't talk to the concierge, or the front desk. Go straight to the valet or door man. Find out where they love to go. Where they make sure they take their best friend who is visiting from out of town for the weekend. Nick sent me to Mother's Bistro & Bar. Ohmygosh, was it ever fabulous.

The interior of the restaurant looked as if it was straight out the 1890s. Imagine Barbara Streisand coming down the big staircase in "Hello Dolly" and you would be looking at Mother's. I ate in the bar aka the Velvet Lounge & Cafe. The food was amazing. Their specialties are comfort foods, but done really, really well. I couldn't decide (what else is new) so my great waitress brought me a 1/2 size Mexican Chop Salad (amazing) and the Macaroni & Cheese d'jour. They do a different Mac & Cheese everyday. Today's was fettucini with a spectacular wild mushroom cheese sauce. mmmmmmmmm. Since Katie is the true Mac & Cheese critic, I had to call her with my mouth full and just moan. She loves me!

I finished the evening with a quick trip (under 3 hours) to Powells City of Books. Heaven.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ahhhhh, Portland

I love Portland. I have a technology training in Vancouver all day Friday & Saturday. Thinkin' about staying in the Vancouver Shilo ..... hmmmm, nah. Not when I can stay in Downtown Portland mere blocks from some awesome yarn shops and Powells (center of the none universe of bookstores).

I've stayed in a handful of really nice Portland hotels. Tonight, I am staying at the Benson. It makes the other 5 star hotels in town look like the Y. The lobby alone, amazing. Anyway, on the drive down I called one of my favorite Portland Yarn Shops, Knit/Purl. Not only are the open to 9 on Thursdays, but the girl on the phone told me to bring my knitting because they knit and sip champagne. Did you hear that? Champagne. Yes, I did say Champange. Real Champange. Bubbly, Yummy Champange.

So after I checked into the Fabulous Benson Hotel, I meandered down to Knit/Purl. This friendly group was already knitting away when I got there. I had to just browse the yarn for a minute when the owner asked me if I would like some Champagne while I shopped. Yes I did say Champagne. Ok, just to be polite.

I bought a little yarn for a current felted purse (I know that you are shocked) that I am working on and then settled into a chair with my Champange (yes, Champagne) to start knitting. And them my eyes fell on this amazing looking chocolate cake on the table. The story behind the cake that 2 of the regular knitters are students at the Culinary Institute & they bring dessert every week. The other knitters told me that I should have been here on truffle night. The truffles didn't last long. And these amazing dessert makers weren't even knitting tonight, they were off somewhere else studying for finals. But they didn't want to let the group down, so the cake arrived anyway.

So my fellow Tacoma knitters. Next time you get a wild hair on a Thursday and want to do something TOTALLY impulsive, call me. It's only a 2 hour drive to Portland (we'd be back in Tacoma by 11pm) and trust me Champagne, Dessert & Knitting well worth it because it doesn't get any better than that!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Newest Favorite-ist Place

Hi Katie,
Let us introduce ourselves, we are Russ and Dave from Doyle's Public House, next door to King's Books on St. Helen's in Tacoma. We figured that you were missing Ireland by now, so we decided to open a Fabulous Irish Pub in Tacoma. Did we mention that we will be serving Bangers & Mash, starting May 1st??? Or that you can watch the 2006 World Cup with us??? But darn. We have to wait for you until December 17th. The good news is that the 17th of every month is St. Practice Day ( gotta do a lot of practicing to get St. Patty's day right come next March). So what is St. Practice Day? Well you will just have to wait til your 21st b day, but we guarentee that you will love it. We promie to save you some Bangers & Mash! See you soon!

As I was driving home from the Y at Oh Dark 30, I noticed Doyle's Public House. How could I have missed this??? An Irish pub right in my own neighbornood. On the way home from work this afternoon, I drove by & it even looked better by the light of day. So I called my favorite leprechaun, Rob. But he was too busy for dinner, sigh. 5 minutes later, my phone rang, Rob decided he could take a quick break for dinner. (Must have been that Irish thing that got to him).

Now I want you to know that this is the first picture that I have taken of Rob where he didn't flip me off. Must have been the Boddingtons, or was it the Harp? What a fun and fabulous place. It has a great atmosphere and the food was great. The beer, unbelieveable, fresh Guinness, yum! How do I know this? Well, I tried to be good. One beer, the Boddington's. Then after dinner Rob (I just have time for a quick break) ordered a Guinness (hey, it's an Irish Pub already). He started raving & then I just had to break my one beer rule. The rule of course was shattered when Rob ordered 2 more Guinness's for both of us.

So if you like beer, go to Doyle's. If you like pub food, go to Doyle's. If you miss Ireland, go to Doyle's. If you have never been to Ireland, go to Doyle's. If you don't like beer or wine, but like mixed drinks, go to Doyle's (they have a full bar). If you want to go to the coolest place to hang out in Tacoma, go to Doyle's. If you are happy, sad, tired, bitchy, bored, call me, we'll go to Doyle's.

Katie, don't worry, when you come home next, I will bring you home take out Bangers & Mash from Doyle's.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Look Dad, it's us!!!

Hey Dad, I know that you are a big fan of Sandy's blog. And tonight we are the stars. We just wanted you to know what we do when you go to Seattle to watch the White Sox play the Mariners. (Tough break for the White Sox tonight, losing to the Mariners 4-3 in the 11th. Just want you to know that we know the Sox will be in the World Series anyway).

So we came over to Sandy's backyard and we had to feed the fish, because they looked very, very hungry.

They were soooooo hungry they even tried to eat Eli. They make these weird sounds when they suck on his finger. Ick! I wouldn't let them suck on my fingers. But Eli is a boy and sometimes boys do dumb things, at least that what Mom tells me. She says I need to remember that when I am in high school. I might forget by then, so I hope that she reminds me.

Instead, I saved the wooden duck. It fell over in the mud and couldn't get back up without my help. So I walked across the pond rocks and rescued the poor thing.

Eli is learning about pond life in school this week, so this was kind of like homework. It was very educational. So we might have to go back lots. Just for Eli's sake.

Sandy says that this was the first time that anybody tried to surf in her pond. I did great and so did Eli. And we didn't even fall into the pond. At least not this time.


ps ... maybe the White Sox will do better tomorrow!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Aaron the Easter Herron!

The Easter Bunny didn't make it to my house this morning. He was too busy. So he sent Aaron the Easter Herron. When I let the dogs out for their morning constitutional they met Aaron. There was barking and screeching and screaming (whoops, that was me). Doug came to the rescue and we both turned on the computers and got on the phones. All we could get was messages and voice mails (what? is it a holiday or something???). But would that discourage us??? Nooooooo. Doug got on the local Audubon website and started plugging names into yahoo people search. After one hang up, we found Molly & she was a great deal of help. (unlike Officer Beverly from the TPD, but that's another story).

Unfortunately, if the birds wing was injured he would have to be euthanized. But not until Monday. At my house. With the use of car exhaust. Not a pretty future. It would be a long day for the dogs & the fish & Aaron. The dogs wanted their backyard back in the worst way. The fish were laying low at the bottom of the pond trying hard to look inconspicuous (and not like a seafood buffet). Aaron climbed atop the hot tub and surveyed his future. Jason came over and tried to give him a little encouragement. But Aaron didn't have enough runway for lift off and hit the fence hard. It looked like he had an injured leg, but the big wings worked just fine and he was really looking to get out of my backyard.

So the neighborhood rooster chasers rallied and congregated in my backyard. Marc had the outfit so we made him our General and he took the lead. Slowly we worked the bird around the yard. There was one ugly moment when he tried to get into the dining room with Duncan on the otherside of the glass doing the crazy dance.

It took a lot out of all of us so when Aaron needed a break, we all took a break.

Finally, success, he made it out to the front yard. He hung out in my front yard for a couple of hours probably to reflect on the events of the day and so all the neighbors could get a good look. Then without even a thank you or a good bye, he began to flap his massive wings and flew off between the houses across the street.

Good Luck Aaron! Don't come back this way again soon.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Waving with 2 hands!

Look at my new scarf! Isn't it marvelous!!!! I'm so excited that I'm waving with 2 hands!

Of course my fabulous knitting daughter Katie made it for me. Her first project & it turned out great. I wore it to school yesterday & got a ton of compliments on it. The best compliment was when one of my favorite students took it away from me. He loved the feel of it & it must have smelled good too (smelling things is a priority for him). And I had a hard time getting it back from him.

Not surprising is that this scarf goes amazing with all things green (must be the branch and leaf thing). Luckily that burst of nice weather that we had (sunshine & almost warmth) is gone again until July, so I will get a lot of opportunities to wear my new favorite scarf and brag about my most favorite person, Katie. Thanks again Katie, love the scarf & love you!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


What a fabulous finish to spring break, a weekend in Portland with Katie! Jenn & I were starving when we arrived and Katie had a deli picked out for lunch, the "Flying Elephant". As we stood perusing the menu, Katie said listen. The stereo system was playing Pnik Martini's "Hang on Little Tomato" cd, of course. Ahhhhhh, Portland, is such a nice place.

On Friday we visited, Portland State University. Fabulous campus, nice people and closer to Tacoma (my evil plan, shhhhhh). After be bopping a bit around downtown, it was time to eat. We headed to "Le Happy". It's a great restaurant, filled with yummy crepes. It's very funky and styled after a Paris cafe and owned by Pink Martini's manager, John Brodie. As we finished dessert, John came in. It was fun to see him and chat with him. Make sure when you go to Portland & eat at Le Happy's (thanks for the tip Stuart) don't forget to tell John that I sent you.

Here is Katie standing in front of a wall of flowers at Le Happy's. Don't be surprised when you go in the Ladies Room that the wall is covered with photos of men. This freaked Jenn out a bit, making her very nervous that she was sitting in the men's room by mistake.

See Katie knit. As you can see her beautiful scarf is all finished and she is knitting project #2. Soon to be a felted bag. For this she needed to learn how to purl. Without me. The little bugger has bonded with the women at the knitting store in Ashland and got her going. You go girl!

See Jenn knit. Many people, me included, never thought that we would see this image. But Katie and I are pretty forceful. We cornered poor Jenn in a yarn shop and made her pick out this yarn for a scarf. Funny thing is, she really liked it and is a yarn junkie. We did the Portland yarn crawl and Jenn led the charge. I think we may have her join the darkside.

Katie is such a fast mover, she picked up this young lad. Actually, this is Dan, a good buddy from TSOTA (Tacoma School of the Arts) who now goes to school and lives in Portland. He was a real trooper and put up with all of us on Saturday & Sunday. He's a big fan of one of favorite spots in Portland, Powell's bookstore. If you like books & have no other reason to go to Portland, go for Powell's City of Books, 68,000 square feet packed with books.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring Break

It's the official middle of Spring Break. So one would think that I would be done with exactly half of my incredibly long tadu list.

That's what one might think & if one does think that, one would be woefully mistaken. OK, so I probably have the longest tadu list known to man. But it is based on sound research on exactly how much I could get done in just one day & now I have 9 whole days available to me. I can't tell you how many times, I feel overwhelmed in my life and I indulge in my favorite fantasy. It goes like this: You know, if I just played hooky from work for one day, I could get all caught up in all areas of my life. And then, not unlike Snow White, I would stroll through the rest of my natural life with Disney blue birds flittering around my head, chirping melodious tunes. Now this theory has never been tested because I am too much of a goody two shoes to ever play hooky. Maybe I could get through my list if I had two heads.

Probably not. I might be more successful if I had four heads. We'll go with that & I will let you know how it all turns out!

Monday, April 03, 2006

A strange Monday night ...

Well it's over. Ucla (my alma mater) had a great run in the NCAA basketball championship. They made it all the way to the finals. But like 63 other teams in the tourney, their season ended with a loss. My good friend Jessica who was in Las Vegas tonight, kept a close eye on the game and text messaged me throughout, And this is after the Bruins booted her Gonzaga Bulldogs 2 rounds earlier. She is a champ. Unlike a person, who shall remain nameless, who suggested that I should be happy for Florida ... Me???? Happy for Florida, after they kicked our butts all over the court all night long, beating us by 16 points. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I'm not bitter.

Then their was Jenn and her family reunion. It seems Chris's friend Fletcher was actually Jenn's cousin Scupper in a former life. Talk about the small town of Tacoma. It was our small corner of the Twilight Zone.

And finally their was Jewel and her magic. She was pretty elusive all night long. Didn't realize that she was doing witchcraft in my kitchen. It seems that she was mixing this potion up that erased her nose and grew poor Derek a second head. I'm telling you, the National Enquirer could have done a four page spread on Monday night dinner tonight.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Big Blue

If you look closely through my kitchen window you will see a visitor to our backyard. That would be a Great Blue Heron gazing into my pond like it is Tacoma's newest sushi bar.

Moments after I took this picture, the dogs went charging and the heron gracefully flew away. Hopefully that was that and all is well under the water. I haven't had the courage to count the fish in the pond yet. If not we will have to call the Big Game Hunter Rob & his weapon of mass distruction. That's what we had to do to scare off the last heron that wafted into our yard a couple of years ago.

BTW don't forget to notice the beautiful artichoke windchime that Peter made for me. Isn't it amazing! I keep meaning to hang it somewhere outside, but then I wouldn't get to look at it as much.