Sunday, November 29, 2009

Road Blocks

I'm still here! The good news is that my creative mojo is returning. The bad news is that I injured my arm a few months ago and it's keeping me from enjoying my newly returned mojo. :-(

A few months ago I decided to get more serious about exercise and added weights to my morning exercise routine of walking/running. Well, being in the worst shape I've ever been in, I had to use the lowest settings and weights that we had (pitiful, I know). I ended up pulling a tendon in my left elbow. I quickly stopped the weights and hoped that time would heal it. Well, it got worse and I decided to see a doctor. Turns out it's tendonitis and he prescribed meds and gave me a brace to wear. He said it would be back to normal in a week or two. It's been three weeks and it's worse. Now, it hurts almost all the time...even when I pick up something light like a throw pillow or sit down to watch TV! :-( It even hurts when I knit! No fair! I'm waiting to hear back from him to see what I should try next.

On the bright side, I have to take it easy. On the not-so-bright side, I have to take it easy. I have so much I want and need to do! This is frustrating, to say the least. I'm hopeful I'll find a way to get it healed so I can jump back into life, full steam, enjoying my newly returned mojo to it's fullest!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Deutsche Nahrung und Spaß (German Food and Fun)

I love exploring and finding new and unexpected things to see and do. I don't limit it to vacation's any time. Life is short and I want to see and do all that I can. I've been asked many times how I know my way around so many towns and about so many places. I guess it's because exploring is a way of life for me. I don't always take the roads most traveled. When I do, I keep exploring the area to see what else I can find. When I hear about something new and I have a chance to go see it, I do.

That's what happened last Thursday. My parents had some long time friends visiting for a few days and my daughter and I went to see them. We all drove to Calimesa, California to see something I'd never heard of. It's a little shopping center with a clock tower and characters that come out at noon with music and a little story. People gather around the tower just before noon and wait. Just after the clock strikes 12, doors open and characters start coming out. First, the two side ones come out to blow their trumpets. Then, the king and queen come out and talk.

Rumor has it that the creator of this has some tie to Disney. I can't confirm that but the faces of these characters did resemble the Disney style. It was a little hokey but I bet kids would love it and I'm glad I got to see it.

Afterwards, we went next door to George's Market. It's a German deli, market, and restaurant.

This was fun! My grandmother (my dad's mom) was 100% German and I use to enjoy German food whenever I saw her. She passed away a long time ago and I haven't had much German food since. So, this was a real treat. The meat counter ran the length of one side of the store. Here's one small section...

They had German cheese...

And lots of other things. I'm not sure what it all was but it would be fun to find out and try it...

We all enjoyed sandwiches with German meats, German potato salad, and the best sauerkraut I've ever had. Yummm! I bought a bunch of German foods from the market to take home and enjoy. I had a crockpot of beef stewing at home and enjoyed it that night with spaetzle. It wasn't like grandma's but it was good.

I use to make springerle cookies with my mom every year for Christmas when I was growing up. We've been thinking about making them again. This little German outing just may be the inspiration we need to make them this year. Mom already has her springerle rolling pin out and ready.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Like Lichen

My family and I love to visit the Santa Rosa Plateau for hiking, mountain biking and horse back riding...but mostly because of the gorgeous views and the ever changing and always amazing show that nature provides. From the green in winter to the wildflowers in spring and even the dry, brown seasons of summer and fall...there are wonderful and surprising things to see all year.

The oak trees are extra lush and green this year. Right now, the oak trees and scrub oak bushes are loaded with acorns in various shapes and sizes. There are even a few wildflowers peeking out here and there. And, this year, there is more lichen than I've ever seen before. The conditions must be perfect because there are areas along the trail where it seems like it's covering almost every bit of shrubbery. It's beautiful and colorful (click on the pictures for a larger/closer look)...

It varies in size and shape. Some of it is big and bold...

Some is tiny and delicate...

I did a little online reading about lichen and found out that it's not just a fungus but also an algae and sometimes a bacteria. Together, they help each other thrive. This relationship, called mutualism, is what allows them to produce these shapes and colors that they could not do alone.

Nature is amazing!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Case of the Missing Mojo

Seems that my knitting mojo has suddenly and unexpectedly gone on vacation. It's odd how that happens. And, the symptoms and and reasons can vary. There are times when I just don't feel like knitting (this is rare, but it does happen on occasion). Other times it just seems like every project I try won't work. Almost like having all my years of learning and practice fly out the window. Other times, it's a case of pouring over patterns for days and sometimes weeks trying to find one that says, "Pick me! I'm the one!" and not being able to find one that "speaks" to me. Along with that, it can often be that I'm trying to find a pattern to match some yarn in my stash, to do a little stash busting, save some bucks, and feel proud that I made something fabulous with something I already had. This time, I think that almost all of the above have caused my mojo to leave. Except that I really want to knit! I sure hope it comes back soon. Christmas is coming and I don't have much time!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Fun

Last weekend we had planned to go camping in the mountains near Idyllwild but the weather forecast said it was going to be quite chilly and we decided not to go. That worked out well though and gave us the opportunity to experience the silent film festival on Friday night, hiking on Saturday, and meeting up with some friends to hike with our dogs on Sunday.

The weather forecast turned out to be a bit off though. We know this because we went up to Idyllwild on Saturday for our hike and it was warm and beautiful! The skies were sooo blue and the fall colors were such a treat.

Golds and yellows and oh so pretty!

Salsa was a great little hiker. She was even careful to read the signs and follow the rules... :-)

We went on an easy hike on Sunday and she was kind of tired from the steep and long hike the day before. But, she loves to go "bye bye" and wouldn't have missed it for anything!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fun Times & Fun Finds

This past weekend was the annual rummage sale at my parents' church. I try to go every year. I don't always find things. But, over the years I've found some great stuff...yarn ball winders, cones of yarn, an umbrella swift and much more. It's become an annual event that I look forward to. I try to get there as soon as it opens, shop, and afterwards I sit and visit with my parents and an aunt an uncle over coffee and treats in their little make-shift cafe. My daughter was able to go with me this year. That added even more fun to the day.

I found a few fun things this year and spent a total of about $9. I found a brand new row/knitting counter for only .10 cents! It was in the original, un-opened package. This might come in handy.

I found something I find almost every year...more buttons! I have a growing collection and with this find my jar of colored buttons is full. I need to either transfer the color ones to a larger jar, or separate out a color, style or shape. I've already separated out the white ones. I love buttons!

I found this 26"x26" rooster painting (not a print) for only $5! The rooster is cute, the flowers are great, and the red is perfect for our home. I love it!

I bought a ceramic, red popcorn bucket...brand new with the store stickers and never used. We love making popcorn and experimenting with various herbs and spices to flavor it. It will come in quite handy. It was only $3! I also bought a few kitchen gadgets (some in their original, unopened packages - I love that!) for practically nothing.

After the rummage sale, my daughter and I went out to lunch and then antique store shopping. I didn't buy anything but I found something I realllllly wanted. I have a collection of old glove forms and hands and this one is the biggest I've ever seen...

It would be such an awesome addition to my collection. was being sold with the old telephone and the handset of the phone was glued to the hand. They told me that it was used as a prop at a TGIF restaurant. The vendor wouldn't budge on separating the two and with the phone it's a LOT more than I wanted to spend. So, I had to leave without it. :-(

Here's another fun find that I bought last month...a knitted doily in a gorgeous, rich, spicy brown color. So pretty! It was only $6! I love finding beautiful bargains like this!

This was a great day but it didn't stop there. That evening, my husband, daughter, and I drove down to Encinitas for dinner and the "Mary Pickford Silent Movie Festival". They showed Mary Pickford's first movie and her last and had a reknowned pianist playing live music throughout both movies. It sounded like a fun thing to do but we had no idea it would be as much fun as it was. After the show, everyone cheered and left with huge smiles on their faces. What a great experience! And, what an awesome day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fiber Festival Fun

On November first I went with a couple of friends to the Southern California Handweavers Guild Annual Fiber Festival. I try to go to it every year. It's not huge, like some that I see in the north east, but it's pretty special because events like this are extremely rare in Southern California. There were handwoven items on display, demonstrations, and vendors selling rovings, yarn, bags, tools, beads, jewelry, books, etc. It seemed busier this year than ever before and vendors seemed to be making a lot of sales. If I had been on the lookout for beautiful yarn or roving, I would have come home with many. There were so many gorgeous choices. But, I was on the lookout this year for some specific yarns on cones for weaving and didn't find what I was looking for.

I was having so much fun looking around that I kept forgetting to take pictures. Here's one that I took with my phone. This vendor had several shelves like this, filled with so many gorgeous colors of this super fine yarn. The sample socks were the thinnest, finest handknit socks I'd ever seen and felt. It was a fun day! And, as usual, I'm already looking forward to next year's event.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's all about the Soup...and a Little Painting Fun!

My life has been really busy a good way. I've been working out more, going out and doing more, playing more and having loads of fun. That explains why my blog has been a bit neglected lately, with very few posts. I'm hoping to squeeze in a few posts this week to catch up on some of the fun.

My husband, daughter and I use to go fairly often to a local place called "Painted Earth" to paint pottery. Life got so busy for a few years that we haven't had a chance to go in quite a while. We sure missed it. Recently, my daughter and I decided to spend an afternoon there. We're really out of painting practice but we had a lot of fun.

We ended up spending over five hours in the studio.

Here's her finished bowl, after firing...

Here's the inside. I love the sunny yellow and all the pretty colors she used...

It takes imagination to visualize how it will look after firing because the colors change so much. Here's a picture of my bowl before...

And, here it is after firing...

My husband painted this bowl a few years ago. I love it!...

My husband loves to use his bowl whenever we make one of our favorite recipes, "Sopa de Tortilla". I saw this recipe on a Martha Stewart show over 10 years ago, we tried it, and it has been a family favorite ever since. His bowl works out so perfectly for this soup that we wanted bowls of our own. The large size is great because this soup is filled with garnishes...avocado, queso fresco cheese, finely chopped/shredded radishes, pasilla chile, tortilla strips, and the very important squeeze of lime. I searched online for the recipe to provide a link. This RECIPE looks like the one. It just doesn't include all of the garnishes. We even add chicken sometimes. We're planning to make Sopa this week to try out our new bowls. I can't wait! Yum!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Winner is...

Marie at Sel & Poivre! Congratulations! She has won the "Find a Cure" knitting needles and the beaded stitch markers for one of her entries into the "Pink Clallenge".

The winner was chosen the old fashioned way...I wrote each entry on a piece of paper, folded each one, put them into a container, shook them all around, hubby closed his eyes, and pulled out a winner.

Most of the entries were for getting mammograms. Only two were for pink projects. You can see them HERE and HERE. There is a picture of each project, info, and a link to each of their blogs, "Sel & Poivre" and "Facts From Fact Woman".

Thanks, to everyone who entered. It was great hearing from all of you (I love getting your comments) and it was fun seeing your pink projects. And, most importantly, how great that so many of you are taking charge of your health and getting your regular mammogram screenings! :-)