November 2006 Archives

Is that like "I" as in "Eyeliner"?


Well, my mom has hurt her back and won't be able to make it to our yarn crawl in San Francisco. I hope you will all send healthy happy back thoughts her way because anyone who has thrown out their back knows that this is absolutely no fun at all. Luckily, I know my mom will be back on the west coast as soon as she's in full working order again. This is not a trip for which any arm twisting is necessary so I'm just glad she's taking care of herself and resting up.

I'm scrambling now to get all the various details worked out and may stay in OC for an additional day. If this is anything like my scramble to switch hotels on Monday, it should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Having called the travel site's help line, I had the distinct pleasure of being transfered 4 times to a total of 5 reps, and on each occasion I was asked to repeat my 16 digit locater number, consisting of a random assortment of letters and numbers.

Having subsisted on a bag of airline pretzels and some decaf tea over the course of my 12 hour day, I was perhaps lacking in my usual charm. On round three I ran through my locater number twice, trying to communicate it clearly. As my rep repeated it back to me, she ran through the familiar "That's 'A' like 'apple', 'R' like 'Robert'" and on it went, When she got to "'Y' like 'Wyoming'" I actually didn't know how to answer. She was not American, so there was always the risk that she was confusing her letters, since, surely their company supports a fair number of customers in Wyoming, but I trusted that the logic, while perhaps a little faulty, was probably on track. An hour later, I was unpacked and in my room.

And while I'm nitpicking other people's use of the English language, might I show you this gem of fragmented sentence fabulocity?

It reads, "La Quinta. Spanish for 'Got you covered."
Why do we have a period instead of a comma after "La Quinta"? Maybe a lack of sleep makes me overly persnickety.

It's all fine, though, because I had a huge, delicious sushi dinner with my brother last night.

In my world, there's no such thing as too much spicy tuna.



I'm sitting in Portland International Airport, enjoying their free (FREE!) WiFi while I await my flight down to John Wayne Airport for a quick business trip. My flight is a little delayed today. Why?

Snow-ish stuff.

And since I'm just now starting to acclimate to Portland weather, I'll spend almost all of the next two weeks in California and get my resistance to cold back down to nil. Yay!

Knitting on unbloggables continues in earnest, but I've spent a little time with El Matchador, here and there.

Candy pink Polwarth from Lynn. I spun the singles up lacy fine and created a 3-ply using the Navajo plying method.

Would you like to see it closer?

I knew you would.

But I won't be seeing much of El Matchador these next couple of weeks. I think I can live with that. But there are two things I'll miss bunches and I have a picture of one of them right here.

Three guesses what the other is...first two don't count. Well, time to check my flight status. Jet setting is soooooo glamorous.

Question to my Portland neighbors


To all of you who left me sweet comments about our Sunday trip, thanks. I have been absolutely swamped with work and emails sit read, appreciated and unanswered.

That said, I'm going to ask you all a favor.
It's getting to be about that time when Panda will need a check up. Can anyone recommend a really great Portland vet? We loved the guy we had back in LA, but it's a bit far to drive now.

And if you are in the West Side or Chatsworth areas of LA and need the name of one of two great vets, I got you covered. Just pop me a comment.

The tide is high but I'm holding on


Well, it was another great weekend for me in Portland. This is probably not what anyone who watches the weather station would guess. We've been getting rains of epic proportions. I'm pretty sure I saw an old guy, two misguided daughters and a bunch of animals on a boat, floating down the street. Actually, I think we've been relatively lucky, our house is on high enough ground that we haven't had any flooding in our general proximity and every day has patches of glorious sunshine. I'm not complaining. And since this is abnormally bad weather, I haven't felt the pang of mover's remorse.

Saturday was dry and lovely and a perfect evening to step out for some Salsa. Thanks to PDX Woman I had the good fortune to find Aztec Willies.

You'll have to excuse the crappy photo, we brought the camera, but no memory card, so this was taken with a camera phone.

I decided to take the lesson to warm myself up, and then dance until Leo is ready to pass out. There was a live band, and the place was absolutely packed. I had a grand time. We finished the evening with some tacos and went to bed so we could wake up early and bring Panda to the beach.

See all the pictures from the beach, after the jump.

Butter Naan

During my trip to India, my friend Panchami showed us how to make naan. She has been kind enough to send me the recipe and is happy to have me share it with you.

Butter Naan

By Panchami Tamhankar

Feeds about 4


Bread dough

  • 4 cups of refined flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp of yogurt

Cooking ingredients

  • 4 tbsp of oil
  • 5-6 tbsp of softened butter

Garlic Naan

  • 25 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh chopped coriander

Stuffed Naan

  • Filling of choice (should be dry and cooked). This can include meats, potatoes, or even sweets.

Preparing the dough

  1. Sieve the flour and place in a large mixing bowl
  2. Whisk egg, milk, yogurt
  3. Add the mixture to the flour
  4. Add all the rest of the ingredients; baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and oil
  5. Knead the flour, adding water if required. The dough should be slightly sticky
  6. Cover the dough in a dampen cloth and let it rest for 2 hours

Making the naan

Preheat oven to about 450º F Have on hand a small bowl of flour, rolling pin, marble board on which to roll, butter and any filling.
Whenever the bread or your hands feels sticky, apply a small amount of flour.

Take a small ball of dough in your hand. Dip into your dish of flour.

Note the bread dough is still wrapped in the wet cloth(left side of both images).

Place ball on marble board and roll out using very very little pressure. Ball should be about 4 inches in diameter

If you would like to stuff the bread, make your stuffing and allow to cool to room tempurature. Shown here is a mutton filling.
Cup your hand and place the dough on your palm. Place about 1.5 tbsp of filling into the center
Fold the edges in, sealing the filling in the dough

Place the dough back on the board with the seam on the bottom. Very gently roll out the dough, starting from the center. The only weight placed on the dough should come from the rolling pin itself. Do not lean on it, just gently roll it out. Turn the dough around, adding flour as needed. Flip the dough over, every so often.

If you have filled the dough, you should begin to see it as the dough stretches out and becomes more translucent. When you dough is about 6-7 inches wide in diameter, or the thickness that you would like (it will puff up a little while cooking), you may stretch out one end slightly, to achieve the oblong shape common for naan.

Spread softened butter on both sides of the bread.

For garlic naan, sprinkle chopped garlic and coriander on top.

Bake until the bread is as golden brown as you'd like.

Serve warm.

This recipe is made to produce a bread that will remain soft even as it cools. The dough is quite versatile and can be used in much the same was as pizza dough, so the skies are the limits. Panchami used something like a toaster oven, which kept the dough very close to the heat source. You may need to experiment with your oven to achieve optimal results. Her oven only allowed her to make a single serving at a time. If you plan to make a whole batch, keep the prepared naan moist until ready to cook by placing under a wet towel.

This meal was served with a yogurt dipping sauce and vegetable broth to help with digestion.

Just some things I enjoy looking at


A relatively random collection of recent photos that make me smile. As always, click to make them bigger.

My new yarn all balled up and begging to be swatched

Dew drops on the grass in the early morning.

Panda watching the rain.

Dog friendly park with a lake

Duck duck...


Little critter A nutria (thanks Amanda!)

He can swim.

The purple center of a Queen Anne's Lace flower

I love autumn


This might be the longest I've spent spinning any amount of fiber. Since I spend most of my free time cranking out projects I cannot blog about, I'm only granting myself about 1 hour of spinning for every 8 hours of knitting work. That one hour includes all pre-drafting, bobbin changing and other spinning related activities involved in producing yarn.

The lack of time is no lack of devotion, though, and I'm so pleased with the outcome. The fiber is a merino/viscose blend in colorway, Autumn, dyed by Chameleon Colorworks. The end result is about 425 yards of sock weight, 2-ply yarn. It's definitely got some thick and thin areas but I think it may be my most lovely yarn to date.

My blocking board is in the one spot in the house getting sufficient enough natural light to allow pictures without a flash.

While I was spinning the fibers, I was thinking that I didn't c are for the green as much as the other colors. But spun up, the colors come together in a beautiful way. Even though the green plays very heavily, the effect of the yarn, as a whole, is more orange-brown.

Using a good drive band made a big difference in the final product.

I was getting a lot of yardage with pretty thick looking yarn and I realized a lot of that had to do with my yarn being a bit underspun...or maybe a LOT underspun. It would result in a very soft and light yarn but one that looked a little sad and limp. This was my first yarn spun using one of those synthetic drive bands and the results please me to no end.

The good drive band gave me much more control over the wheel. It seems obvious, but it's another "well duh!" moment for me. Before, I was using a mercerized cotton and I sometimes couldn't get the wheel to spin at all if I had the break on too high, and even when I kept the brake rather slack, it'd still spin the fibers too little and the yarn would break a lot.

Another lesson learned.

Here I go again


Well, it looks like I'll be back on Knitty Gritty for another episode. I'm actually co-guesting with the one and only Ms. Stitchy McYarnpants.

We'll be doing an episode in the spirit of her fabby fabby book
The Museum of Kitschy Stitches
That's all I'm telling you for now, so you'll just have to wait.

I may also be doing a little knitster duty while I'm in town. At some point they may have to start charging me rent at the studio.

The great news is that it means I'll be back in LA for almost a week, in early December. My mom and I are going on an SF yarn and fiber crawl the weekend before. It'll be a damn fine vacation, if I do say so myself.

And a good time was had by all


On Saturday morning, I stretched out my bon-bon shaking aches. Leo suggested we brave the rain and wind and head to the beach to give Panda some running around time. Bundled up in layers we made our way to Cannon Beach.

The three of us arrived at our destination and Leo gave me a wry smile. "It looks like a hurricane out there." he says, and he should know, having lived through hurricane Andrew more than a decade ago. Panda, was doing the happy dance in the back seat, shifting from foot to foot and pacing from window to window as she let out a little desperate whimper. It was all on me, the princess of the bunch. Do I dismiss the hour's drive and turn the whole party around and go home or do I suck it up and brave the elements?

That ain't steam rising off the ground there!

I like to think of this as a little macrodermabrasion. You can't tell, but along with the wind, we had a healthy bit of rain coming down. The temperature was relatively mild, maybe 60 degrees, but the wind had quite a bite.

Panda felt it was all good fun, indeed.

In fact, she was wondering why we didn't stay longer. Once my jeans were soaked and the wind got even stronger, I wrangled the crew back into the car. We went home, had some lunch and tucked in for a little nap.

I thought it'd be a quite night in, but Leo had other ideas. "We'll just go out for an hour, see a band, maybe have a beer." He says. So I pop on something casual, that will keep me warm, and we head out to Laurelthirst, a little bar on the other side of the river, where we had some munchies and a little bit of beer while we listened to the band.

Their selection of beer is impressive and their nachos really hit the spot.

Any place sporting a Deception Dollar, is fine in my book.

Isn't Leo a good looking man?

He looked so cute I had to give him a kiss.

From Laurelthirst, Leo suggested we go back for more salsa dancing. At first, I resisted. I definitely wasn't dressed for dancing. But he didn't have to work too hard to twist my arm. We went back to Andrea's for a few, then over to Fernando's Hideaway. I danced and danced some more before we headed out for a little walk by the river.

It was a gorgeous night with just a little mist in the air. The trees had turned yellow and nearly glowed against the warm light of the streetlamps. A perfect ending to a great night.

Shakin' my bon-bon


Last night, Leo and I met up with a local group who tries different restaurants in Portland, every two weeks. This time, we went to Eleni's Philoxenia a Greek WONDERLAND of food yumminess. Great googily moogily, this meal was good.

After eating ourselves stupid, and smelling not unlike Gilroy, California, we went for some Salsa dancing at Andrea's Cha-Cha Club. When I say "we" went salsa dancing, it's in the royal sense. We don't salsa dance, I salsa dance. Leo mans the camera and tends to the people watching.

While I doubt the eau de garlic was a scent my dance partners hoped would be wafting over them, I couldn't help but have a grand old time cutting a rug.

I kind of think this blurry one is the most flattering of the bunch.

I guess this one looks a little bit more like it's actually me.

Dancing a cha-cha. I had a little trouble following this guy's lead and he kept insisting on counting aloud. It was a little bit of a train wreck.

Despite his mullet he was a very good dancer. Oh and he has a mullet, my god, I haven't seen one of those since New Hampshire!

We danced until about midnight before calling it quits and heading home to bed.

While Andrea's doesn't have quite the crowd I remember from my favorite Salsa clubs in Boston and LA, it comes as close as I've been able to find since coming to Portland. We've hit a few other spots that are nicer to look at but lack the sort of regulars that can really hold their own. Apparently, Tango is rather popular here and I may have to give it a shot, but for now, I've found a place to get my salsa fix.

The roving is safe


You can all rest easily. I did not run out of candy. The supply of roving has not been depleted and even our jack-o-lantern is still whole (albeit a smidge withered)

Being the frigid evening that it was, we thought it best to light a big ol' fire instead of relying on our heating system. If we hadn’t we know that every time we opened the door, we'd be channeling our inner crotchety old man and worrying about "heating the whole neighborhood". So down went the thermostat and up when the kindling.

The trick-or-treaters were few and far between but so adorable and polite!

Faces blurred to protect the adorable

At the end of the night, we still had a full bowl and a half of candy, which Leo has been slowly funneling to his colleagues. If you aren't much for networking, this is a great way to earn brownie points.

Unbloggable knitting is still full steam ahead but when I can't be entirely focused on knitting, I have granted myself a little bit of time to spin. This is the beautiful Merino/Viscose roving I got from Janel, in colorway, "Autumn."

If your heart didn't just skip a beat, you may want to check your pulse.

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