Thursday, September 29, 2005

Culinary Adventures with Antonia and Quena

Okay, I promised I'd try to remember and post a list of the delicious concoctions experienced by my kitchen (and my tummy) while Antonia and Quena were here, so here goes. In no particular order, here are some of the yummy (all-vegan) things we ate:

- Mixed veggies sauteed with fresh pesto
- Mushroom-tofu-leek pasties with potato onion dill bread
- Gingered green (and purple) beans and orange peppers
- Chocolate brownies topped with "Rockin' Raspberry Chipotle" Jam and melted chocolate
- Chocolate truffles (as a result of putting wine in the melted chocolate for the brownie topping - oops!)
- Mystery spice cake (with cumin, curry, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cocoa, and cayenne)
- Banana five-spice cake with tofu "whipped cream" topping
- Mabon bread
- Spicy Pad Thai with tofu
- High-protein smoothies
- Ginger-apple pancakes with yogurt and maple syrup
- Lots of yummy salad with fresh garden ingredients and flowers
- Crackers spread with Better-Than-Cream Cheese, then "Rockin' Raspberry Chipotle" Jam, topped with mint leaf

If I've forgotten anything (and I'm sure I have), Quena and Antonia may feel free to post comments with additions. :) Thanks again for a fabulous visit, and for the incentive to start exercising more! :P

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wonderful People

It is so lovely to have Antonia and Quena here with me in my little apartment in Portland. We have been having a wonderfully girly time, with lots and lots of cooking and baking, which my other friends are very happy about as well. :) We made Paul a birthday dinner on Monday, and tricked him quite well with the vegan cream cheese. Last night we made a delicious picnic and took the streetcar up to NW Portland to watch the Vaux Swifts fly into the chimney at Chapman school to roost for the night. It's a wonderful neighborhood event where people bring out their blankets and picnics and sit on the hill to watch the thousands of birds funneling into the chimney. John came along with us, and we met my friends Cate and Victor there, and also ran into a couple of other people we knew, so it was a jovial gathering. After the picnic we all (minus the couple of other people) came back to my apartment for dessert, which was also delicious. I had a very happy-making thought while we were all sitting there enjoying dessert and talking and laughing -- I was having my first party in my own space! It made me feel very good to be surrounded by good friends, wonderful people all, making my home a joyful place.

Today Antonia made us whole-meal smoothies for breakfast, which were yummy and nutritious. Then Quena and I went to Powells to copy the recipe for Mabon Bread from a book, then went shopping for the ingredients, while Antonia went camera and bike shoe shopping. Quena and I also biked up to NW to the running store, where we tried on lots of running shoes and ran around the block numerous times, confusing the people who were sitting outside the coffee shop on the corner. I ended up buying a pair of Brooks shoes. They (the shoes) convinced me they were worth it because they worked magic on my shins. The pair I tried on before the Brooks gave me shin pain, but when I put on the Brooks it went away. Just to test it out, I tried one shoe of each pair on each foot and ran around, then switched them and tried again. Both times, the shin with the non-Brooks shoe hurt, and the one with the Brooks shoe didn't. So maybe there's hope for my shins after all! We're hoping to all go out for a run with John this evening, but we'll see if that actually happens. The days are going by so quickly! Antonia has to leave early tomorrow morning, and it seems like she's only been here for a day. :( I'm copying down many of her recipes so I can try more vegan cooking experiments after she leaves. It has been so fun cooking with her! After this week is over, I'll post a list of all the wonderful things we cooked and baked (if I can remember them all!).

Time to make Mabon Bread now. Happy Equinox, everybody!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Since I didn't have photo-uploading capability last time I posted, here are a couple pictures of the twins from my day at Dad's. Harper is on the left, Lila on the right (and that's Grandma Jackie in the middle). Aren't they adorable?
I have to say that my entire California trip was a huge success. It was great to see everybody, and I think I had almost the perfect amount of time everywhere. Santa Cruz was lovely; it was very good to go walking on the beach again, and to see Jim and Bast. I didn't end up connecting with Sarah, unfortunately, and when I walked down to the coffee shop where my friend Wyatt worked for the longest time I was told that he left them about a month ago, so I didn't get to see him either. Bummer. But Jim and I went to the County Fair, which is always fun. We missed the Alaskan Racing Pigs this year (they're not really all that exciting anyway), but did get to see the frisbee dogs, which were very impressive. We spent half an hour in the OMSI tent tangling ourselves in string puzzles, and worked on perfecting our sheep and goat calls in the livestock barn. All in all, a typical and highly enjoyable Fair. :)

And now I'm back in Portland. It drizzled and sprinkled my first day back, which was actually quite a nice change, and it's lovely and sunny out now. The garden is doing very well, though it got mildly weed-ridden in my absence. At least it's happy. I went to a swing dance last night and tested out my new dance sneakers. They're awesome! I had enough traction to maintain control, but enough slip to be able to slide. And no blisters! The guy who threw me around so much at the last swing dance was there, so he threw me around some more. He was impressed that I remembered some of the Charleston stuff he showed me last month, and that I picked up the Savoy kicks straight off (sort of). I failed miserably at Balboa, however, so I'm going to need to work on that one.

Antonia arrives tomorrow morning, and Quena arrives Tuesday evening. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Catching Up

Okay, I haven't posted for several days now, so I'm going to try to recap everything that's happened since my last post. Let's see....

Davis was fabulously fun. I love Quena's co-op, and her lovely co-op housemates, and her wonderfully playful (and not fat!) Lucia-cat. It was tremendously satisfying to be able to walk out the back door every morning and pick fresh figs for breakfast, and kumquats and grapes in the afternoon, and peppers and eggplants and tomatoes for dinner. That's the way I want to live! :) In other Davis adventures, we spent some time walking around campus, ate a scrumptious lunch at Sam's Mediterranean Restaurant, went to the Farmer's Market, and danced at the Merrie Pryanksters' practice on Thursday night. It was fun to do some energetic English dancing again.

Early Friday morning Quena walked me the three minutes to the train station, from whence I took a train to Richmond to meet Seth and spend the day with him. It was absolutely lovely to see him again, after something like four years. He took me rock climbing at a climbing gym, and I remembered how much I enjoy toproping in the gym. He started me on a really easy 5.3, but I graduated from that pretty fast, and I think I may have gotten all the way up to a 5.10a. I've been very sore for the last couple of days (forearms and shoulders especially), but it's a very good and satisfying kind of sore. I can't wait for the little climbing gym on campus (in an old racketball court) to open up again for fall quarter so I can go check it out.

Yesterday I went over to Dad and Betty Lue's house to see them and Grandma Jackie for lunch. I got a special bonus surprise for the day -- Hilarie and Eric brought their four-month-old twin daughters (my step-nieces) Lila and Harper over! It was very fun to meet them, and I got to feed and hold Lila and get her milky drool all over my shirt. :) They really are remarkably good babies, and it was fun to meet Eric and see Hilarie again as well. So that was a nice surprise. And it's always nice to see Dad and Betty Lue and Grandma Jackie.

Today I'm with Monee and Pa, having a lovely relaxing day. Monee and I went out to Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics this afternoon for some crafty shopping, and we're going to start her new beading project this afternoon. But for now they're engrossed in the tennis match, so I have time to catch up on my blog. And I think that's it for now! Tomorrow I go to Santa Cruz to see Jim, and hopefully my friend Sarah, and then I fly home again on Wednesday.

Oooh! One more fun piece of news! I get to have both Antonia and Quena come to visit me next week! Hooray!!! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I am having a lovely time visiting Quena in Davis at the moment. Yesterday we spent much of the day walking around in the beautiful but not-too-hot sunshine, picking up Quena's flat-tired bike from a friend's house. We then walked the bike over to campus, where we took it to the Bike Barn and fixed the flat, and also saw the Experimental College where Quena works. A fun work habitat if ever I saw one. :) After fixing the flat tire we were able to bike around Davis instead of walking, which was equally fun, though more butt-soring.

Last night was Quena's night to cook dinner, so I helped her and her cooking partner Corin make Thai food. We had salad, of course, and Corin made some excellent Thai vegetables while Quena and I made a killer spicy Pad Thai with tofu and eggplant. There were several extra people over for dinner, so it was a very cozy and jovial affair. And there were four Stanford people around the table! The Pad Thai was extremely spicy. We had a chorus of sniffs around the table, and people were all blowing their noses at once. Someone opened the dining room windows, which helped cool us down somewhat. Finally, Travis got out a jug of milk from the fridge, and proclaimed that it worked wonders for the spiciness. The jug got passed around the table, and the milk certainly helped. Travis called across the table, "Quena, I have been eating in this house for two years, and never has milk been passed around the table!" So I guess we set a record. It was good, though!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Starry Plough

Lst night I went to the Starry Plough for the first time, for some lovely Irish music and dancing. Quena was kind enough to take the beginner's lesson with me, even though she's something of a regular, so I got a nice 2-hour introduction before the 2-hour dance. I didn't dance any of the "for those who know" dances, of course, but they were sure fun to watch! And my new dance sneakers did a fine job, despite the hard concrete floor and fast waltzes.

It was really fun to go somewhere I'd never been, and yet know a whole bunch of people there. Shortly after we got there I came out of the bathroom, and who should I see standing in front of me but Richard Powers! Now that was a person I didn't expect to see there. Apparently his new wife, Tracy, is a regular at the Plough, and he's been a couple of times. So I didn't get to see him at FNW, but I did at the Plough. Funny the way the world works. He invited me down for their wedding reception/dance/party in November, which was very nice of him. In addition, there were a bunch of morris people I hadn't seen in a long time, and a couple of people I'd met once or twice before, several years ago, and recognized but didn't quite remember. It took Siannan to tell Forrest and me that we had met at Lark something like four or five years ago -- neither of us had a clue! Anyway, it was fun to dance, and fun to see some familiar faces. Hooray for the wonderful socialness of dance communities!

And now I'm in Davis, all set to start a wonderful few days with Quena and her lovely kitty cat Lucia. A beautiful dark grey cat, vocal on a par with Alice, but far quicker. :P It's wonderful being in Quena's lovely J Street co-op house, with all the happy colors and delicious-looking jars of home-canned pasta sauce and corn and salsa and honey. Truly inspiring. Hooray for happy houses and Quena time!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ruby Slippers

Guess what I got today! Fabulous red dance sneakers! I've wanted red shoes for quite some time now, but never found ones I thought I would actually wear. But I will certainly wear these! They make me very happy, and will inspire me to dance more! And hopefully I won't get anymore giant blisters on my toes. :)

Markets and Murals

Yesterday morning Antonia came over and we all walked to the Palo Alto Farmer's Market. Hooray for Farmer's Markets! It was fun to experience a new market with some of the same goodies and some different goodies. They had a crepe stand that made fabulous crepes, which we bought for an early lunch. The Gravenstein apples were also fabulous, and I'm sure all of the other things we (read: Mom, who was very excited to be at her first Farmer's Market in Palo Alto) bought will be delicious as well. There was live music to sit by while we ate, and we ran into a Stanford dance person (who had not been at Friday Night Waltz the night before). All in all, it was a lovely leisurely morning.

One cool thing about downtown Palo Alto is the murals you find on many of the buildings. Not big huge landscape-type murals, but mostly just cool little paintings on the sides of buildings, sometimes where you least expect them. This one was on the back side of the Washington Mutual building, which is somewhat appropriate. Unfortunately, the shadows are all wrong, which is somewhat distracting.

This one really tripped me out. I suppose at one point in the day the shadows on the real window and the painted window could theoretically match, but most of the time it just looks wrong. Cool idea, though.

This one was just cute. It's on the side of the Bay Leaf restaurant, a very nice little vegan restaurant where we went for dinner last night. I had a "Toon Mai Toon" sandwich, with soy cream cheese, tomatoes, roasted red pepper walnut pesto, and other yumminess. I do like small, friendly, yummy restaurants. :)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Yay for friends and dancing!

Graham and I went to Friday Night Waltz last night, and I had a lovely time seeing some of my old Stanford dancing friends. Some of them knew I was coming (and made a special trip just to see me - how sweet!), but some of them were very surprised. It was lovely to dance again, though I desperately need new dance sneakers. Graham and I may be going out dance sneaker shopping at some point this weekend, which would be nice. After the dance I went out to Pizza My Heart with several other people, which I'd never done after dances when I actually lived here, so it was fun to finally get that experience. All in all, it was very fun to see everybody and dance with some of my good friends again, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Hooray for dancing and dancing friends! (By the way, at left with me are Neal and Dave. My feet are about a foot and a half off the ground.)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Flap, flap!

I'm off to California! There may be sporadic posts from time to time during my trip, or I might save it all up for when I get back. For now, I'm just excited to be coming down to see everybody! Here I come! :)

Current magnetic poetry:
fly naked