Saturday, February 27, 2010

Early Risers

Getting up early on the weekend is just about my favorite thing to do.  Luckily these days it's easy with the sun streaming in by 7:15.  
By 9 this morning, Joel and I had already enjoyed a nice breakfast at Starbucks on Broadway and were happily walking through Forest Park listening to the birdsong.  We stopped for a little while and watched the tiniest, happiest bird there ever was building a nest out of moss and twigs in a little hollow in a tree.  How lucky we Portlanders are to have a park like that right in the city.
photo from fleurdelys.org

After our walk it was more coffee on 23rd, a few errands and then I spent the lion's share of my afternoon knitting.  My socks are really taking shape!  

The evening began with Indian food and Talk to Her.  I love watching a favorite film again.  Especially when I've forgotten most of what happens.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ashland

Here's everything you need to know to spend a delightful, relaxing weekend in Ashland.

{drink}  Noble Coffee Roasting 281 4th Street  
Equally delightful rain or shine.  All beans are roasted in house.  Try the Pompadour.

{shop}  Prize 264 East Main Street  
I wanted to transport every lovely piece and beautiful detail directly into my home.  But I settled for a vintage Paris map, Savon de Marseille Extra Pur Figue and Smith's Rosebud Salve.  

{indulge}  Chozu Bath & Tea Gardens  832 A Street
Troubles seem miles away when your soaking in 105 degree salt water sipping on jasmine tea or sake.  Stay the night in a cottage and snack on healthy japanese fare by the fire for a little après soak.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Larch Mountain

What better way to spend a gorgeous sunny day in Portland than with crèpes for lunch at Chez Machin followed by a 10 mile walk up Larch Mountain.  In fact, it was so gorgeous yesterday that sitting at an outside table at Chez Machin, I was able to bask in the sun in jeans and a t-shirt!  This February spring weather is definitely one of the best things about living in Portland.  Every year we're treated to two weeks of bliss.  I've been in Oregon long enough to know that it's going to get cold and rainy again, maybe until June.  But for now, long live the sun! 
The craggy summit.

It was so clear you could see (l to r) Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams 

Of course, Mt. Hood was grandly beautiful.

Me and Joel at the top!

If you'd like to walk up Larch Mountain, just take I-84 east from Portland to exit 18 toward Lewis and Clark State Park/Oxbow Regional Park, Turn left at Crown Point Highway, Continue on Historic Columbia River Highway, Continue on SE Hurlburt Road, Slight Left on SE Littlepage Road, Slight Right on SE Louden Road, then follow signs and Turn Right at E Larch Mountain Road.  You can park at the closure gate at milepost 10 and walk up Larch Mountain Road the remaining 5 miles to the Sherrard Viewpoint.  The road reopens sometime between May and July and then you can drive all the way up.  Walking is much more fun, though!  The view looks way better when you've earned it.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Judy's Magic Cast-On

My first knitting class is complete, and now all I want to do is knit. However, I'm starving, so I must stop and eat. But first, a little blog update and a few pics.

Class was amazing. Our instructor taught us Judy's Magic Cast-On which is truly magical. It results in a purl row once cast-on is complete, leaves no edge or seam on the toe and is a complete snap! I decided to get bamboo circulars instead of metal because I hate the feel of the metal ones. I'm hoping I'll warm up to the metal ones later. I also had to go back to throwing because learning a new skill on little tiny needles while simultaneously practicing a new technique proved difficult. I'll still practice continental on a felting project I've got going now at home because ultimately that's how I want to knit. For now, I'm very happy with my latest foray into knitting and simply bursting with ideas of things to make on those wonderful circular needles. What a lovely afternoon!
A little blooming jasmine waiting for class to start.

A fun sign.

And the best part about being in a knitting shop: the incredible colors.

Oooh!

Bring on the socks.

Today I'm starting a knitting class at Twisted which is conveniently located just three blocks from my apartment. I cannot wait to learn how to knit toe-up socks on two (!) circular knitting needles. This morning I got online and watched a few videos of knitting basics because I realized I had pretty much forgotten everything I already know about knitting. I refreshed myself on how to cast-on and then learned some new tricks. Not remembering anything has its upside, I discovered! This morning, I officially converted from being a "thrower" or "English" knitter, to being a "picker" or "Continental" knitter. That definitely would not have happened were I well entrenched in the habit. Rah!
Doesn't that buttery yellow yarn just make you feel all fuzzy inside?
Class doesn't start for an hour so I'm going to get out, enjoy some of this sunshine and play with my camera. À bientôt!

Friday, February 12, 2010

friday afternoon...

The past week went by so quickly it's almost as if it never existed at all. I'm thrilled to be feeling better and happy that the time I was sick was somewhat "productive" given that I discovered a couple of new blogs I find very inspiring and had a lot of time to think. Joel gets major points for taking good care of me while I was sick, including busting out the Comet, scrubbing the bathtub and making this happen.
One of the new blogs I'm smitten with is The Awesome Summer Journal which I blogged about here. The other one is wikstenmade. Jenny Gordy of wikstenmade is completely adorable and I intend to hijack her eyebrow shape as soon as humanly possible. Her clothing designs are impeccable and reading her blog just fills me with feelings of sunshine, farm fresh eggs and green green grass. Don't ask me why, it just does.
I learned via The Awesome Summer Journal about a little thing called "bokeh" which is the blurry, out of focus part of a picture. I had to take photos while paying attention to this phenomenon at once! And I knew just what to try it on. The perfect pansies in my window box that I'm unabashedly in love with.

But I believe it's really more dramatic at night, so I just tried a few more in the twilight that's glowing over Portland right now. It's definitely tricky to get the camera to see what I see and focus on the right part. It always wants to go to the background. Then once I get it to focus it's delicate to hold the shutter release half way down while framing the shot. Still, I can tell this is going to provide hours of fun. And what a relief! When I bought my G10 back in August, I had this lingering doubt that I had bought way more camera than I'd ever make use of. Turns out, not so!

This photo is probably the best of the lot. And while I wasn't entirely satisfied with it, it did occur to me that my neighbors may think I'm trying to take pictures through their windows and I felt compelled to stop.

I wish you all a lovely Valentine's Day. To celebrate, Joel and I are going to Chozu Bath and Tea Gardens in Ashland. I can't wait to spend two days doing nothing but soaking in a hot, therapeutic salt water pool, reading magazines and books and walking around adorable Ashland. Three cheers for the three day weekend! See you back here Monday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A few beautiful things...

Expect today to be a day filled with many posts. I am still sick and lying in bed with a hot cup of tea and my laptop is a good thing to do when sick. I can watch a movie in my bed, or read the New York Times in bed. Or pay bills in bed. Or check facebook and email in bed. Then when I'm ready for a nap, I just set the laptop aside and snooze. Now that I'm not writhing in pain, getting my strength back is almost pleasant. Except when I swallow. Or sweat feverishly. Or can't snooze due to nausea. But at least the majority of the body pain and headache are gone. If you have not experienced Strep Throat as an adult, learn more about this hellish misery here.

But onto the beautiful things.

Wouldn't this be a lovely bed to snooze in? I am a ridiculously devoted west elm admirer. Their aesthetics just resonate on every level with me. And I love the vocabulary they put with this bedding set: Tailored, Tidy, Terrific! What glee! It's enough to put a spring in your step and how I'm dreaming of spring.
Photo from westelm.com

Another beautiful thing that I cannot find one fault with is La Compagnie de Provence Savon de Marseille Extra Pur. I like the modern bottles and clean lines and this stuff lathers like you wouldn't believe. I am in the process of justifying the price tag on the rose soap in the glass bottle. Given that I will never get sick of it, and the refill is much more reasonable, I think it's a worthy investment. Lovely.
Photo from lcdpusa.com

And now it's time for me to take a little nap.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Get a Grip!

I was so completely inspired by this photo when I saw it. For several reasons, but we'll get to that in a minute. It came from The Awesome Summer Journal, a blog by a woman who lives freakishly close to where I live. Weird! And it makes it extra fun to read her blog because I know all the streets she's talking about, and restaurants and all that. This picture was taken on the Hawthorne Bridge. See more here.

But the reason that this picture really inspired me is this: I get so bogged down with teaching and how demanding it is and how tired Joel and I always are by the time we get off of work that I don't even take advantage of this amazing city I'm living in. My first thought upon seeing this photo? What's the point of living so close to everything if you don't even bother to get out and walk around? Exactly. So, if there's one good thing about being sick, it's that by the time you're well enough to sit up and think a little bit, you discover a sliver of time that didn't exist before and you use it to get new perspective on life. Maybe that's why I get sick so frequently. I need more perspective. Huh. Well, anyway, I would like to enjoy my life more than I do, and I'd also rather not be so rushed and overwhelmed the majority of the time.

I think I will make a list.

Sick Weekend

I suppose it's a good thing that I didn't have any set plans this weekend. I'm terribly sick with strep throat and have done absolutely nothing since it began Friday night. It's hard to believe how nasty and painful strep throat is. I've been on the antibiotics for 24 hours now and yet I feel worse than I did yesterday. The doctor said even with antibiotics it could be 4 or 5 days before I start to feel better. It's miserable. The fevers, the pain, the absolute and total fatigue. At least I have a really cozy bed and a good supply of ibuprofen. And Joel is taking good care of me. But my weekend was taken from me. No grocery shopping and cooking, no leisurely mornings drinking coffee, no meeting up with friends, no fun at all. Just the foggy headed feeling of a high fever, difficulty sleeping and squirming from pain. Sad. I really hate being sick.
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