Day 5 Lobsta Bake with the fam!

17 09 2009

*Beep beep beep*   I interrupt this New England Trip recap to bring you breaking news… Cheese has left the house… I repeat Cheese- also known as the phantom cat- has left the house and… what’s this- she’s eating grass with her brother Cassanova.  Reports indicate that Cheese is getting increasingly brave and has been venturing out regularly.  I believe our photographer has captured this rare Cheese sighting.

Cheese is adventuresome!

Cheese is adventuresome!

Amazing! Ok, back to your regularly scheduled vacation update.

Sunday, Mom was anxious to show Matt the Portland Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  We drove around downtown Portland a little and then went to the Cathedral.  Mom wanted to show Matt the beautiful stained glass which was made by a man who shared a last name with Matt’s Mother’s family- no relation, but a fun story none the less.  WOW are these stained glass beautiful!  I had seen them years ago, but they are amazing.  See for yourself!

After viewing the church, we headed back to get ready for a little relaxation before a traditional Lobsta Bake- hosted by my Uncle J and Aunt A.  Did I mention that at Aunt S and Uncle C house Matt made a new friend? Tiki the Cat/Dog. Seriously a dog that acts like a cat- my kind of dog.

2009 Sep 06_0642It was off to the Lobsta bake! I hadn’t seen much of my family in 2 years, and everyone was going to be there (with the exception of my cousin A who I had seen the night we arrived- he had gone back on the Appalachian Trail and my mom’s baby brother and his family- who live in Denver).  Despite being in the middle of major home remodeling, Aunt A and Uncle J put on the best party!  They rented a tent for the back yard and hired childhood friend Paul and his wife to organize and do the lobsta bake.  I’ll post the details of how an authentic lobsta bake happens in my next post.  But here are photos from the festivities.

Chatting with Aunt A and Aunt S

Chatting with Aunt A and Aunt S

Gathering around the bake!

Gathering around the bake!

Toasting big birthdays (Aunt S, Cousin K, Cousin M, Cousin R and Mom) and Engagements (yay!)

Toasting big birthdays (Aunt S, Cousin K, Cousin M, Cousin R and Mom) and Engagements (yay!)

Did I mention we toasted an engagement?

Did I mention we toasted an engagement?

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Chowing down! Corn on the Cob, Steamers (clams), kielbasa, and of course lobsta!

Chowing down! Corn on the Cob, Steamers (clams), kielbasa, and of course lobsta!

Have I mentioned how much I love my Family? Uncle J, Aunt S, and Uncle C

Have I mentioned how much I love my Family? Uncle J, Aunt S, and Uncle C

Aunt J, and Cousin M- Gosh I miss my cousins!

Aunt J, and Cousin M- Gosh I miss my cousins!

Cousing MS and his girlfriend A- they are buying a house, how exciting!

Cousin MS and his girlfriend A- they are buying a house, how exciting!

Cousin K and her beau

Cousin K and her beau

One of my fav images; Cousin R captures a great photo of Cousin K and her boy- who is hiding a beer behind his back- priceless!

One of my fav images; Cousin R captures a great photo of Cousin K and her boy- who is hiding a beer behind his back- priceless!

Matt fit right in with my family, and got a good education on how to do a lobsta bake.

Matt fit right in with my family, and got a good education on how to do a lobsta bake.

The day wrapped up hanging by the fire and a fireside game of apples to apples by light of the fire!

The day wrapped up hanging by the fire and a fireside game of apples to apples by light of the fire!

I have to say thank you to the three people who made that wonderful day possible- my dear dear Aunt A and Uncle J and their dear friend Paul!

Thanks guys!

Thanks guys!

When we got home that night we realized, our trip was coming to a close- how sad!  Next up: A lobsta bake tutorial and Day 6 of the trip.





Lavender Bottles (AKA Lavender wands)

13 07 2009

2009 Jul 09_0103 Last year I planted four lavender bushes in the garden, this year I added two more.  I love the smell of lavender! This year we’ve had a lot of lavender to harvest.  What does one do with the lavender?  Typically, I dry it and collect the lavender buds.

Dried lavender has multiple uses:

-use in a sachet to freshen up lingerie drawer or as natural moth repellent for wools

-use in cooking- lavender is edible and quite yummy

-use in aromatherapy it is supposed to help you relax and to fall  asleep

2009 Jun 30_0099My lavender grew particularly tall this year, which gave me the idea to try a new craft- Lavender bottles made with ribbon.  Lavender bottles or lavender wands are made with fresh lavender cut before the flowers open with a long stem and ribbon (1/8″ to 1/4″ width).  Directions for how to make these wands can be found on one of my new favorite blogs: Make it Do.

2009 Jun 30_0100

I got the itch to give these a try the night before leaving for BF’s sisters wedding.  I made 4 bottles and at he last minute decided to bring them with me to share. The instructions didn’t say anything about drying the lavender bottles.  But I would definately suggest hangng them up to dry before giving them to anyone.  Not knowing this, and  since the scent of lavender was pretty strong I put them in a zip-lock bag for the flight. When I took them out some 8 hours later there was a distinctive musty vegitation smell- whoops! that’s what I get for putting fresh (aka moist!) lavender in a plastic bag.  BF swears that he couldn’t smell anything wrong with them, but to me the smell was so bad I had to put them in the trunk on our drive from Indy to Fort Wayne because it was making me nausianted.  The whole trip we tried to dry the bottles out (and get rid of that musty smell) placing them in front of a box fan in the basement.  The last day we were there they started so smell normal. Leasson learned, dry the lavender bottles before trying to transport them in plastic bags!

I learned another interesting thing about lavender- I think cats love it! We stayed at the house my BF’s brother and his fiance bought (She’s living there alone until the wedding, and yes, we did get the idea from them!) and their cats couldn’t stay away from the Lavender bottles!  They would steal them off of the counters- out of my luggage, anywhere they could get their paws on them. Funny! I wonder if it’s all cats or just their cats.





Springing Back!

27 04 2009

I love these pictures of Cassanova… he’s so excited for spring’s arrival- as am I.  This summer I’m planning a veggie garden. Last summer I had a small herb/flower garden and this year I plan to move the herb garden closer to the house and create a box garden.  Here are the before pictures of the spaces where I plan to put my garden.  Check back in a couple of weeks.  Oh and if there are any talented gardeners out there… I need help!





A spring roll in the grass

6 04 2009

2009-apr-06_00992009-apr-06_0095I love the flexibility that my job gives me.  I am able to work from home a couple times a week. It confuses the cats some, who don’t understand why I ignore them and stare at the computer so intently, or why I lock them in my bedroom when they are particularly chatty and I am on a phone call.  The “glamor” of telecommuting wears off pretty quickly, sure it’s convenient, but most of the time I work long hours with few breaks from e-mail, meetings, and the aforementioned computer staring.  Today, though was a shining example of why it’s cool to be able to telecommute.

We in the pacific NW have had a rough winter- it’s snowed more than usual, rained a lot, and been a heck of a lot colder than normal.  We haven’t had much sunshine at all and Mother Nature decided to give us some encouragement to make it until summer.  In the 60’s, sunshine and clear sky today was a day that you hated to be cooped up inside.  Cassanova, who is obsessed about going outside on his lead in any weather was happy to spend many hours outside today- and I was happy to step away from my desk to spend lunch outside on the lawn with the Cass man.  He loves the outdoors- his only dilema is that he wants to be around us and usually we are inside- so he plays this inside, outside, inside game.  Lunch today was his version of Nirvana.  Can’t you see the smile on his face?





Bull/Sheep Riding and Tough Cat

29 03 2009

Random Post alert!

H and I went to the World’s Toughest Rodeo in Everett a couple of weeks ago. It was an aboslute blast!  I took some low quality video with my digital camera and thought I would share. The first part is Muton Bustin’ where kids (weighing under 50 lbs) ride sheep for as far as they can.  Too funny! The bull riding clips start off with a quick shot of a bull trying to climb out of the stall- that bull was wild!  the winners of bull riding were the guy in green and the guy in purple.  Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Rodeo“, posted with vodpod

Tough Cat!

A neighborhood cat has decided our yard is it’s domain.  He has been marking his territory and it’s driving Cass crazy. Cass has had two run ins with him now- the first time he chased him up the fence.  I took these pictures when I brought him inside, he was a puffed out and hissing like a bad man.  Check out the size fo that tail!  The other night he and the cat were nose to nose at the sliding doors.  I let Cass out on his leash and he chased him into the bush and then there was a mini cat rumble before I pulled him inside by his leash.  The funny thing- Cass doesn’t have any claws! I’m not sure what he thinks he is going to do to the other cat.

Tough Cat

Tough Cat

2009-mar-16_0035





Some Rx for Hemlock Ring Blanket

19 03 2009
Hemlock Ring In Work

Hemlock Ring In Work

OMG- Did I freak out when I discovered the broken yarn in the blanket I am knitting?  Understatement of the year!  I was especially concerned that it was the yarn that caused the break- Maybe I was using too much tension on the yarn and weakened it… maybe after i give it as a gift more holes will appear… is my knitting too tight? Oh no…

After I looked it over more, and Faye came to the rescue we came to the conclusion that one of my cats (Cheese we think) did a little yarn tasting.  This is how we think it went down.

The yarn I am working with is un-dyed natural wool- it smells supper yummy to kitties.  Because the blanket is so big I did not put it in a project bag which I usually do (my kitties like to taste yarn) but put it in an open top tote bag.  I think Cheese went in for a taste, she didn’t chew- the yarn had no evidence of chewing- and I think she got her broken tooth (remember her swan dive off of the 2nd floor landing?) caught on the yarn and in her attempt to free it she broke two separate pieces of yarn- one of which was on a lace row and a yarn-over nonetheless.

So I am no longer freaking out that the blanket might spontaneously fall apart- it’s really nice yarn… just super yummy to kitties. I am lucky that the recipient of this gift doesn’t have kitties, and I am now rethinking making my own blanket with the Cascade Eco- I think I am going to find another yarn that doesn’t tempt the cat’s taste buds so much.

Many thanks to Faye who came to the rescue and helped me repair the hole. It wasn’t an easy task.  You can see from the pictures below that the repair isn’t that noticeable unless you look close (or are a knitter trained to see these types of things) since the future owner of the blanket isn’t a knitter, I am thinking this minor “blemish” won’t be an issue- especially with how beautiful I know it will turn out.  I’m on the home stretch- maybe 15 or 20 more rows and then the edging.  Hopefully will be done by the end of the weekend.

Repaired Cheese Bite

Repaired Cheese Bite





Winter Wonderland

22 12 2008

Wow! Snow has blanketed the NW… you would think with Seattle being around the same latitude as Maine and NH that we would be used to snow… but Puget Sound creates a very mild climate where if we see snow in a year, it melts within 24 hours. Most of the time in the winter our temperatures don’t dip below freezing.  For the last  7 days, out of the ordinary snow has blanketed us.  Keeping us mostly home-bound, or at the very least within our own community.  They don’t plow anything here, except the freeways and the main roads- even roads you would suspect would be considered main roads aren’t plowed. So there isn’t much to do except sit in front of the fire and enjoy the pretty snow. (and Knit!)

I finished two projects a sweater wearing teddy bear and socks for my mom. The socks were a bit embarrassing, I started them in August and finished the first one in September, then nothing… I just cast on the second one last week and finally finished it Saturday evening.

I also taught BF one of my family’s snowy traditions- Maple sugar candy or “Jacks Wax” is a traditon whenever we had light fluffy virgin snow!  It’s pretty basic- (see recipe link) but here is the gist of it- boil down maple syrup to a soft ball state- poor over a bowl filled with fresh fluffy snow- use a spoon or popsicle sticks to scoop up the hardening candy… yummy goodness!  When I was explaining it to him he kept calling it “yellow snow”… so I think we’ve given birth to a new tradition… yellow snow… oh my….

Flying in and out of the Pacific NW is a disaster this week. BF’s flight home was canceled- he’s rescheduled to fly on Christmas Eve but we aren’t sure if that will happen.  Dad is scheduled to fly in tomorrow night- I’ve got my fingers crossed. This storm has all the airlines messed up. Who knows who will be her for Christmas!

One last story… in my continuing car saga… all the repairs were completed early (last Thursday) The roads were bad so I wasn’t going to pick up the car that night. When the collision repair shop employee was putting my car in for the night she broke off the passenger door handle.. Owe!  Needless to say they fixed it for free… the car is all ready to go… but with the bad weather I’m not chancing it… might just stay at the shop a couple more days.