Thursday, February 28, 2013

Back On The Run

Finally, after a rather extended hiatus, I'm back to running and so happy about it.  Bonus:  I didn't get lost.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Craftspeople In Their Environments

I really love these images of artisans in their workspaces.  The photographs have a 'Dutch masters' kind of quality that I think really celebrates these people and their trade.

Squirrel/Fox Hybrid - It's All In The Ears

Besides the "crowgeon" - a bird that seems to be a cross between a crow and a pigeon, we have this other fascinating variation on urban wildlife - the squirrel/fox hybrid.
Check out those ears!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Diane Bonder - Filmmaker & Friend

 Yesterday would've been our dear friend Diane Bonder's 53rd birthday.  A celebration of her life and work is now online.   If you're unfamiliar with her films, this will give you a chance to see the great work she accomplished in the short time she had.  She is always greatly missed.

Wander Lust

Random closed factory in Prenzlauer Berg
We keep broadening our circle outwards, exploring new grounds and familiarizing ourselves more and more not only with the city but with our own neighborhood.

Imagine how excited I was to discover a yarn shop less than a block from our flat!  How did I miss it with this great bike out front?  Two of my favourite things - biking & knitting.  They have a knitting night each Tuesday, and I plan to join them...once I take care of that sweater (another post on the traumatizing Tourist sweater will follow soon).
And then a little reminder of home at the grocery store -  Brooklyn Brewery beer!  But I'm not handing over 2,99Euro for a single bottle (of a beer I'm familiar with) when I can get a six-pack of German beer (a sampler even) for 4,99.  That's me, budget-minded!
Spring seems to be trying to stake a claim,
which is great because I found a bike!  Her name is Penelope!
The ladyfriend has decided her bike is Roxanne; what's really funny, and true to us, is that my bike is smaller than hers, but she likes a tall girl and I like a short one, so I think we'll all be fine.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feel My Pain (If Only A Little)

Did anyone hear my silent scream last night?  There I was, happily almost finished with one sleeve of my Tourist sweater (so appropriate, no?) when I saw it.  I saw what a different dye lot can do to your knitting.
Can you see the issue from there?
Okay, this is not my first time with the needles, and even recently had to get some yarn from a kind soul on Ravelry to finish a sweater (which I did finish but haven't photographed and is currently back in Canada).  The different dye lot didn't make any difference in that sweater, and I (mistakenly, obviously) thought that with a variegated yarn like this, any differences would be hidden.

But I was wrong.
So wrong.
(colour is more accurate in the previous two photos)
Really, I want to send the sweater to Canada for a three-month time-out by which time the season to wear it will have passed, and it will join the community of other   I have already ripped out and reknit a huge chunk of the body, and now it looks like I'm going to have to rip out the sleeve and see if alternating each of the yarns will make it okay although I'm afraid it'll give it some weird stripe. So I'll knit up a little swatch (hey, what's a little more knitting, right?) before I forge ahead.

I really just want to wear this sweater. I'm fighting a cold and could use a snuggly sweater.  A cold + a sleeve to rip out and reknit = cranky.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Heute haben wir ein Fahrrad gekauft (corrections appreciated)

Today we bought a bike for Liss - only 50Euros for the bike, a lock, the basket, and a front and rear light.  It also came with a protection spell.  Its previous owner said that it seemed to work because one day she came out and all the other bikes had been stolen except hers.  I'll take that as a good sign.  Now we need to find a bike for me.  It's become apparent that riding around Berlin is the way to go.  Our big adventure today was to figure out how to get to Prenzlauer Berg on the U-bahn and then return with the bike.  Success all around!
The weather has been cold, and as indicated by the photo above, snowy.  But it snows, then stops and melts and then snows again.  It's not a big deal.  We come from Canada.  It's cold in Hamilton; plus I like Berlin when it's grey (at least that's what I'm saying at the moment).  It's very Wim Wenders.

Monday, February 18, 2013

First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin

We had a stop in New York before flying out to Berlin.  In fact, we flew out of JFK because we were able to find roundtrip tickets for the both of us that were less than the price of one roundtrip fare out of Toronto.  Really, Canada needs to figure out the flying thing.  Anyone close enough to a US border is hustling that way to fly because the prices are so much better.   Yes, we can get into a discussion about government subsidy and taxes and fuel charges, but it remains - it's cheaper to fly from the States, and it's not like they're using vastly cheaper labour or anything.

Besides flying, we went to NYC to attend the opening of Raw & Rare, a show at Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art curated by a couple of our friends.  The opening was great.  Besides featuring both well-known as well as lesser-known works, it happened to be attended by a ton of our Toronto friends.  In fact, it seemed to be some kind of friend reunion, which was amazing.  We were flying out the next day so it felt like the perfect send-off.

Monday, February 11, 2013

From Cleanse to Cleaning

So after a three and a half week trip to visit family and friends, which followed closely on the heels of the holiday season, we felt like doing a cleanse was in order.  The Dr. Oz 48-Cleanse was recommended, so we went with it.  It really wasn't that bad, and one can do almost anything for 48 hours.  I'm not sure I'm feeling cleansed (most likely goes beyond my body), but my liver, kidneys, and colon are probably happy.

And now to the cleaning.  We are on our way to Berlin for our sabbatical and are renting our house out.  That was great news; however, we didn't really think about the scope of the clean-up required for a renter (as opposed to a housesitter).  You can't just leave family photos, weird knick-knacks, and underwear around.

So this is the current landscape of our living room:
The best thing about boxing all your stuff up is that a) you get to sort through it (although one must be careful not to get sucked into the minutiae of, say, the medicine cabinet), b) you get to change the way it goes back into your house when you return (another opportunity for weeding out junk as well as implementing a new system of organization), and c) you clean out areas you never really think about (like the interior shelves of the kitchen cabinets).  It is a lot of work, but it'll be worth it.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to pack.  I have a three-month wardrobe to figure out.  Stay tuned for the fashion shenanigans.

Friday, February 8, 2013

From Hornblower (Captain, that is) to Snowblower

I can still hear the island drums (at Forbidden Island)...

The ladyfriend remarks: "And you don't even look wasted!"  Ahem.

The ladyfriend should talk!
...while I shovel our walk.
Happy snow day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our First Grandchild

Yes, here we are, in Mountain View cemetery, with our first grandchild - Sophie.
Can you tell that the boy is holding a treat so Sophie will sit still?  Whatever works.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

As Ye Knit, So Shall Ye Rip

I was really cranking along on this sweater, and then noticed that something wasn't quite right (alignment issue).  I've already ripped it back some, but there's still more to rip and I just can't quite get myself to do it.
I know - the sweater won't knit itself, and the last thing I need is another w.i.p.  Ironically, I blogged about this yarn (Malabrigo) in another post called - wait for it - W.I.Ps? What About Them?  Prescient?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mother-Son Tattoo Bonding!

Bunny by Ian Manley, Spirograph by Jean Chen
As I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog, 'the boy' (as we're prone to calling him) is apprenticing as a tattoo artist at Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley.  Yesterday he did his mama proud.

I cannot tell you how happy I am with my bunny.  It's got to be the cutest thing ever - and so well rendered!  And yes, I love bunnies.

Another Death-Defying Hike

After our visit to Heath, we went to the Marin Headlands, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  I did a run there a number of years ago.  It was nice to walk it this time and take in the scenery.

I believe the following two photos were taken from the same vantage point, just in different directions.

Yep!  That's the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  It was a beautiful day.

Heath Brings It All Home

We took a little field trip out to Sausalito to check out the Heath Ceramics factory and store.  We started our set of Heath dishes a couple of years ago and have put together a good set of dinnerware.  As the ladyfriend repeatedly said after our tour, "Now I'm even happier with our Heath dishes."  When you learn what goes into them and how they are truly hand-crafted, their beauty goes beyond the glaze.

Mold imprint close-up
Every dish is handmade and the entire process takes place in their Sausalito factory - from making the clay to forming the dishes to mixing the glazes to firing.  Each dish is checked for quality, and if they don't meet the standards, they become "seconds" sold only at the factory store. 

One of the kilns
We lucked out and bought a set of "seconds" house numbers in the Neutra style.  Can't wait to install them!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What This Blog Needs Is Some Food - Part 1

Since I haven't given a lot of details of the meals we've eaten (girl needs to keep her strength up, you know), I thought I'd give a brief run-down of some of the food highlights of the trip so far.
There are lots of places to eat in Boulder, but the two of note that we visited this time were The Sink and Arugula.  Two very different eateries.  The Sink is a "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" find as well as an "Obama Ate Here" place (he signed the wall).  A college dive, the food was pretty good.  I had the grass-raised burger, which was still juicy and flavourful despite coming medium instead of medium-rare (as I'd ordered it).  (No, I could not send it back; I mean c'mon, it's a college hang-out.  Plus, our waitress didn't charge me for my first beer because she'd recommended a beer they didn't have that night).  Artery clogging, sure, but a good version of that when you're in the mood for it.

Arugula is in a strip mall (which seems to be a trend...) but serves well-crafted food.  I had the special pasta - housemade fettucine with braised rabbit in a light cream-based sauce featuring a local cheese.  My only suggestion would be to use pappadelle, which stands up better to a substantial sauce.