Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I think it wants to rain

The thin overcast is thickening up and the air is getting that fat, humid feel to it.  Little brown birds are working the feeder really hard, as if they know they'll be driven to storm shelters in a few hours.  The bees are nipping the nectar like there's no tomorrow.  And I just finished watering the vegetables.  If I want it to rain,  I could go get my car washed - that's sure to bring it on.  Oh, or better yet, I could walk to the beauty shop for my haircut.  That will, fersure, bring on the deluge.  Nothing like a nice little half mile walk in the rain with no hat or jacket to make the elements conspire against you.  I can use the exercise.  Wish me luck.

Before I go, though, I want to recommend a book.  Kay Knorr has written Plucking One String and I just finished reading it. This book ought to be required reading for anyone who has to work on any sort of committee.  These Lutheran Ladies' Circle members are some of the people you will be working with.  Domineering, passive, batty, caught up in their own lives and losing sight of the big picture.  There's lots of laughs, lots of wisdom, a crazy old aunt, and tornado. What more can you ask?

It's available on Amazon and it's a good read.  It  even includes a recipe for Jello salad with marshmallows and cream cheese, and you can't get much more Lutheran than that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


DH spent most of the week with a stinking, howling, butt-kicking man-cold.  And still he got up at 5 every morning and went to work.  This is the stuff of which heroes are made and I am dead serious when I say this.  The person who goes ahead and does the daily stuff what needs to be done, in spite of personal discomfort, boredom, and the asshattedness of management, deserves medals and chocolate cake and anything else he desires.

  He still can't smell enough to have an appetite (oh, I should only be so lucky!) but none-the-less he took me out to Estacada for a 6 km volkswalk, and walked fast enough to keep me panting in his tracks. It was a splendid day for a walk, and a charming route, along the bank of a river (the Clackamas?) then through the small downtown of Estacada which is embellished with over a dozen murals painted on the sides of buildings.  The murals include crowd scenes featuring portraits of actual, real live people from the area.  The day started out cloudy and cool, but the clouds burned off before we were done, so we had sunshine for our finish. It was beautiful!  Did I get photos?  I tried, but they seem to be lost somewhere in the ether.

Today, we slept in, and got out rather late (9:30) for breakfast.  The place was crammed! We had to wait twenty minutes to get seated.  DH took a different route back toward our neighborhood which led us past a couple of estate sales.  Sunday is half-off day.  We had wayyy too much fun.  DH found a couple of books which appear to have been correspondence courses with assignments and homework and tests all bound into proper book form later.  Really kind of neat.  One was a geology course, and one was an astronomy course.  Wish I had known the person who took those classes and was organized enough to keep all the papers and have them neatly bound into books.  I found teacups from pre-WWII Japan - eggshell thin and hand painted, for $4 each!  And 10 eggplant-purple napkins for $2.    And 4 big cotton scarves for 25cents apiece.  I love estate sales where the object is to clear the house, rather than to wring every possible groat and farthing out of Aunt Mable's leftovers.

Then I come home, look around my house and think, "God have mercy on anyone who has to clear this place!"  I have this addiction for old china and linens, DH and I love books, he picks up stuff that appeals to a machinist (a hand-hammered copper kettle.  A solid brass turned candlestick holder.  A VietnamWar vintage reel-to reel tape recorder with an apple box full of meticulously labeled music tapes.)  We've lived here18 years, and the corners are stuffed solid with - stuff.  (and the yarn stash, and the fabric stash and who in the world needs this many photo frames?)  As far as I can see, the only solution is to refuse to die.  You'd think, though, that if this was a workable solution, someone would have tried it by now. Hmmpfh.  You can thin my teacup collection when you pry them from my cold dead hands!

Oh, on a completely different tack, if you want to see something bizarre and fascinating in the wildlife sort of way, check out Murr's blog about slugs.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Now we enter the time of the year when stray zucchini begin roving the neighborhoods.  You might go out one morning and  find a strapping young zucchini cuddled in with your morning paper.  Bags of small zucchini will ring your doorbell, then sit there trying to look appealing when you open the screen.    You can tell if someone has no friends at all if they are in the grocery store buying zucchini.  You learn to lock your car in the church parking lot because if you don't, turgid green cylinders will show up on your backseat while you're attending the service.  

This year, we succumbed to the siren call of the hardware store racks of vines and bought two pumpkins, and a zucchini.  Here you see our one incipient pumpkin, keeping company with our first zucchini. I grated that sucker up and made a chocolate cake with it.  Yum!  After the photo session, I took said cake off to DH's workplace and begged the jolly lads to eat it so I wouldn't.  They appeared to be willing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I didn't know how far the pink yarn would go, so I started with seven stitches on my dp needles and increased seven stitches every other round until I had 90 stitches on the needles.  Then I knit plain till the pink was used up. Changed to purple, added two stitches, and did k2,p2 till  the purple yarn was almost used up, and bound off. There was enough purple yarn left to close up the original 7 stitches and embroider a little purple button on the top.  Easy peasy, slick as greasy.

I took my lunch outside in the shade yesterday.  Then I lay back in the lounge chair and appreciated the warmth. Along came old Fly cat and before I knew it, he had spread himself like a fur comforter across my neck and chest, and lay there purring like 15 pounds of jellied contentment. Clearly it was time for my master-level relaxation training.    I did my best to become as boneless and serene as an old cat on a warm day.  I think I'm getting pretty good at it, but I can't be perfectly sure, because I fell asleep.

Our garden patch has yielded one zucchini. I found a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake with cinnamon.  It should be illegal.  DH will be taking it in to the locusts at work tomorrow.  I am gob-smacked at the ease of discovering the perfect recipe on the net.  Life didn't used to be so easy. If you wanted a chocolate zucchini cake recipe, used to be you had to invite Mary Margaret over for coffee and while you were chatting you had to serve her your caramel apple coffeecake and she would ask for your recipe  so then you could ask for hers and you'd better be sure to have paper and a pencil right handy. Then, if the fates were favorable and Mary Margaret was feeling particularly mellow, she'd write down her famous chocolate zucchini cake recipe for you and if, IF she really liked your coffeecake, she might just remember all the ingredients and the proper amounts. Then, when she went home,you would make a trial cake right away to see how it turned out. And you had to make sure to note in your file that it was Mary Margaret's recipe and be careful not to use it for any event where she might be bringing a cake because it would be SO rude to bring her special cake someplace she might bring it as well.  And you can't share Mary Margaret's recipe with anyone else in town, but maybe you could share it with your sister-in-law in Missoula and your cousin in Eugene, but maybe you'll change it just a little so if they ever serve it to your family, yours will taste better.

Do you remember any of the other rules in the cake games?

Monday, July 23, 2012

And then . . .

The Jersey Boys was a wonderful experience!  It was the story of the Four Seasons, how they started on the streets of New Jersey, how they rose to fame, how they lived and changed.  Rockin' tunes from our past, quick, skillful acting, inventive sets and the fastest costume changes I've ever seen.  All the female characters in the play are portrayed by 4 four girls in different wigs.  The story was funny, poignant, and even-handed.  And would you believe it, Frankie Valli is still performing!  He's in his 70s now, and he's still belting out that sterling silver falsetto.  "Sharrie , Sharrie bay-bee . . ."  The guy that played him has an awesome voice all his own, and owned the part!

The show got out at 4:30.  We had reservations at Flask and Beaker at 5. We feasted! We had three "small plates" and 3 "large plates, and we shared them family style.   I tried to watch the diet, but when they brought out the small plate of seared beef, I threw self-control out the window!  Something about the smell of cooked beef drives me mad with hunger.  The service was engaging, cheerful and so helpful.  The wine was superb. The food was fabulous, but OMG expensive!  It was the most FUN time!

And then, Sunday, DH and I got up at8, did the grocery shopping, then drove to Oregon City to join MJ and RW for brunch.  A much simpler and  MUCH more reasonably priced meal at HighCliff (I think)  We just kept sitting and chatting and drinking coffee/tea and enjoying ourselves.  It's a great way to spend a lateSunday morning.

And THEN, hours later I was getting hungry again, and DH told me to wait, because we were going out for dinner.  He spoils me so!  He took me to the Ringside FishHouse for our anniversary dinner.  As of today, we have been married for 18 years.  We spent 5years together before that, and it has been the happiest 23years of my life.  The fish house offered a good selection of oysters but OMG - $3 per single oyster?  I should have taken the plates, shells and silverware home at that price. Still, I have a new favorite. Shigoku oysters from Washington state are a culinary experience I am thankful to have lived long enough to try.  I had 3 of them.  And the Ringside's famous deep-fried onion rings.  And trout almondine.  And, because it was our anniversary, the restaurant gave us a couple of cookies for desert.  DH had the prime rib.  It was such a contented, happy dinner!

Now, I have to go back onto the diet wagon.  Oh boy - carrot sticks and raw apples.  Yay.  Wish me luck.  It took me about two months to lose 10blbs, andI probably packed half of it back on this weekend.

It was worth every mouthful!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

two small hats

DH has to work today.  We have tickets to a 2 PM matinee showing of Jersey Boys that we bought clear back  in February.  The slave drivers said it would be ok for him to get in his 8 hours early, so he rolled out at 3AM this morning.  He's hero in my book!

Not enough yellow yarn to knit another goldfish, so I went for kiddie hats.  Yellow is such a cheerful color.  If I were cold little kid, I think I'd be happy to have a yellow hat. 

I got up at 5, as usual,  hit Facebook and the blogs, checked the e-mail, cleaned up from last night's dinner, then put on the work pants and gloves, and went out to do battle with the morning glories.  I worked for two hours, completely filled a yard debris can (mashed down and flowing over, but not fully compressed.  They really object if you climb on top of the can and jump on the debris. It won't come out of the can if you do that.)  There's enough morning glories for another two hours of ripping at least.  

I can tell I am not a natural -born gardener.  All the green thumbs I know talk about the joy of weeding, the sense of accomplishment, and the zen-like peace that a good weeding session engenders.  I don't feel satisfied or peaceful.  I feel sore.  And the little green bastards keep coming back!  It's never-ending.  I'm beginning to think scorched earth might not be such a bad way to go.

On the other hand, the roses, which thrive on neglect, are going gang-busters.  And amazingly enough, a star-gazer lily has made it through the grass and glories.  ah. sweet! Oh, and the place where we dumped the pumpkin guts last Halloween?  Feral pumpkins leafing out and beginning to spread.

And so the Viney War begins. Pumpkins and ivy taking on the morning glories, twined in tendril to tendril combat, throwing leaves one over the other, struggling for maximum sunnage, throttling their competitors with brutal persistence.  Thank God they don't have automatic weapons yet! All we need is a few mercenary zucchini, and it won't be safe to walk in the yard anymore.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yet another hat

In an effort to use up leftovers, I am on a bit of a hat blitz.   I'm wanting to make something using multiple skeins of yarn, though.  But lordy, I don't need another sweater, DH doesn't wear sweaters since he feels the heat too much, and everyone we know who wants a sweater already has a sweater.  Well, something will come to me. It always does.  And in the meantime, itty bits of oddballs work nicely into hats.   
Today, I put on my big-girl walkies shoes, and took myself out for a hike.  Our medical plan had a free telephone app that will keep track of your time and route for you.  I did 3.17 miles in 55 minutes.  It was cool and overcast and just perfect for walking.  With no particular destination in mind, I wandered a bit.  The phone kept track via its GPS, and drew me a map of my route.  My phone did this.  When I say "phone," I think of the black thing with a rotary dial sitting on the end table in the living room of the old family home. It had a spiral cord to the hand set, and cables wired into the wall, and kids were not allowed to touch it. At all. Ever. I was 13 years old when I was first allowed to use the phone.  Now, my phone takes pictures, tracks my perambulations, tells me the weather forecast, keeps track of my caloric intake and shows me movies.  The mind boggles.

TW asked how long it took the wasps to set up laval housing on my car antenna.  I really don't know.  How often do you check YOUR car antenna?  I'm quite sure I could have been driving around for weeks without disturbing the cells.  I really couldn't tell you the last time I looked at my car antenna.   I am now casting a hairy eyeball around the house, searching for other brood chambers.  And I have GOT to go rip out morning glory vines in the back yard.  But before that, I think I'll take a little nap. Ah, the joys of retirement.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The only way I know to get photos off my phone and onto the blog is to send them from the phone to the e-mail , download the e-mail, then pick up the photo from my downloads. In May I sent a MESS of photos from the Hawaii trip, and ATT warned us that we were going overboard with the texting.
Yahoo!  I has beentrained.  The photo is the larvae of mud-dauber wasps, attempting to colonize my car antenna.
And there are more hats, as well.  Oh, oh the power of the cloud!

More fish

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Saturday was warm and pleasant, and we had tea in the back yard.  Curried chicken salad sandwiches, carrots, sugar cookies with bacon-flavored frosting, cinnamon meringues, lemon flavored and glazed mini cupcakes, and chocolate shortbread buttons sandwiched together with Nutella.  Also clementines and cantaloupe balls.  We had a splendid time even though there were only 8 of us. The bacon cookies were quite popular and I may do them again.  We drank hot tea, hot coffee, iced tea, iced peppermint tea, lemonade, and cucumber water. Pat mended three items of apparel for her daughter.  I just about finished a kid's hat for Med Team Intnl. Moma was working on a pretty scarf, and wore the gorgeous mauve linen top she knitted last summer.  LG  is just a few rows away from finishing her baby surprise jacket.  Linda A was wondering what to do for her daughter's 50th birthday. I suggested male strippers, but was vetoed.  That's OK.  I don't even know Linda A's daughter It's not like I would have been invited to the party anyhow, so I don't care if they have strippers.

Sunday, DH and I rolled out and tried a breakfast place suggested by Carol -   Genie's.  Forty years ago, Genie's was the sort of bar where they swept out teeth on Sunday mornings after the Saturday night fights. The windows were painted black on the inside. It was what we call an animal shelter.  There were a couple of winos who lived in the blackberry  bushes out back.  But that was then, and the neighborhood has gone much up-scale since then.  Genie's is bright, clean and cheery.  They serve a damn fine brunch with real, honest  food and decent prices.  Add to that, they have pretty good coffee and cheerful service.  We will definitely return.

Our plan was to have breakfast, then go for a walk. But a weather front moved in last night, and it was raining when we finished breakfast.  Well, this is Portland.  If you don't walk in the rain, you don't walk. So we went home for our slickers then set out to walk the Esplanade, a trail downtown that meanders along both sides of the river, with access to all the bridges.  (Portland is a very green sort of city. The river front is public, scenic, and clean.)  After about twenty minutes though, we realized that what had seemed like a like mist was actually a penetrating drizzle.  Our rain jackets had failed in their duty, our saturated pants were clinging to our thighs like wet newspaper, our shoes were squishing, and my hat was leaking an occasional cold drip onto the crown of my head.  So we cut our walk short and headed home.  That's when we started encountering super heroes.  First we saw two young women dressed as Batman and Robin with fluttering capes, jogging along the path.  Then Superman trotted by. Then a family with the 4 year-old dressed as Batman, Dad in a Superman t-shirt, Mom in a Captain America t-shirt, and a darling little re-headed cherub in a pink sweatshirt and cape who I assumed to be Hello Kitty!  The infant in the stroller was just an infant in a stroller as far as I could tell.  Evidently, someone was doing a superhero fun-run.  We saw Wonder Woman and Catwoman, Flash, Green Lantern, King Neptune,  and various caped crusaders that we couldn't identify.  Lots of families with little kids.  I cheered for every super hero under four feet tall, and they all smiled and waved.  Super heroes are wonderful that way.  It warmed the very cockles of my heart as the rain soaked through my my clothes to my underwear.  By the time we got to the car, I could wring out my socks.  My, it was refreshing!

We got home, peeled off the wet things, and jumped into the hot tub.  Steam rose from the surface of the water. Rain made rumbly sounds on the roof.  Squirrels ran through the branches and cursed us, and little birds feasted in the feeder that DH has fastened closed with a bungee cord to keep the squirrels from opening the lid and stuffing all the birdseed into their cheeks.  Life is good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

spin, span, spun, and dyed

Here's that pound of alpaca randomly dyed up.  We had a rice-cooker that was burning in spots, so we got a new one, and I appropriated the bad one for my dye experiments.I'm having a lot of fun pouring one color in on one side,  another color in on the other side, and letting them blend as the heat goes moves through them.  Blue on one side of the pot, pink on the other,on top of beige fiber.  Each skein is a different mix, so I would have to use some technique of knitting from two or three balls to keep from getting clearly defined lines,but that's no problem.  But what to knit, what to knit?  Scarves?  Shawls?  A sweater?

Well, I'm still working on knitting through the odd balls in the stash, so while I do that, I'll let this percolate and see what it wants to be.

Saturday, the July ladies' knitting soiree will be here.  If you didn't get your invitation, let me know.  I'm going to serve ice tea and lemonade, hot tea and coffee, curried chicken salad sandwiches, muskmelon balls, lemon cupcakes, chocolate shortbread, and little sugar cookies with bacon-flavored frosting. ( That bacon syrup is really sooo good!  I just shipped a bottle of it to a baking friend in Australia today and I look forward to good reports from the nether side of the globe.  )  I hope to be able to host it outside, if the weather holds.  Y'all come, y'hear?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What I did today

DH had to work today, so I took myself out onto the back porch, sat in the shade, and spun up a pound of alpaca fiber.  With an audio book going on my laptop, and a glass of iced tea at hand, I was flat out in heaven.  Ab-so-freaking-lutely.  The steady, rhythmic motion of spinning is entrancing, as in, it puts one into a trance.  And the book carried my busy logical left brain quite away, so the time just - melted.  Twice I came to awareness of an urgent need to have a whizz, and was concerned because it seemed I had just left the bathroom.  Then both times I noticed that the sun had moved, the tea glass was empty, and it had been a good three hours since I Last sat down.  Well no wonder I needed to whizz again.

I also took a break for lunch. I had some spaghetti squash left over from the night before.  And I have a bottle of bacon-flavored syrup that I have never tried. So I drizzled a teaspoon of syrup over the squash and nuked it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then took a bite.

Each and every tastebud in my mouth individually and simultaneously achieved Nirvanah!  Swear to dog - did you see the TV footage of the 15 second San Diego fireworks display when they all went off at once?  It was like that only with a shower of pink orchids, angelic choirs and tiny flying silver unicorns.  You go find your own bacon syrup. This one is all mine!!  It's going on my oatmeal in the mornings for the rest of my life.  I'm going to the store on Monday to buy eleven more bottles of the stuff incase they ever run out when I need it. What else can I put it on?  Grits, milk toast, rice pudding, . . . . . .

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fun on the 4th

Contrary to all our expectations, July 4th dawned clear and cloudless, so DH and I rolled out at 6:30, got breakfast, and drove up to Vancouver, Wa. where we became walkers number 18 and 19   for theFt.Vancouver volkswalk.  When we arrived at the fort we were greeted by the welcome bunny.  FortVancouver was originally established by the British as an outpost for fur-trading, and was a center of civilization for the whole northwest.
 Here I am in front of the re-built original fort, in the kitchen gardens.  When the Oregon Territory fell to the Americans, the fort became an important center of military operations.  You see those Westerns where the fort is a desolate outpost in a stinking desert?  Well Vancouver wasn't like that at all. It's lush and green here because it rains all the time.
About the time of the Civil War, the army built a number of splendid homes for the officers on the ridge above the old fort.  I think this one was built in 1865.  Now, several of the old homes are restaurants or offices for real-estate companies or lawyers.  The NCO housing is a cluster of charming old brick duplexes further down the hill, but still uphill from the enlisted men's barracks. It's occupied by officers, because Ft.Vancouver is still an active military base.

There was another surge of construction during WWI, with artillery barracks and a 3 bay motor-pool built in 1916, and stacks more barracks, all vacant now. Wonder if someone could lease those vacant barracks to provide housing for homeless veterans?  Maybe a return to military discipline and structure would be a good thing for some of those folks.  They would know what to expect and what was expected of them.  They could earn their keep by doing grounds maintenance and by rehabbing the old buildings.

After the walk, we stopped by Salt and Straw, a new ice-cream shop in the chichi NWneighborhood, and treated ourselves to strawberry/coconut sorbets.  I was savoring mine, licking the ice-cream very scientifically to keep it in the cone, and remarked that I was very sorry for people that were too proper to enjoy an ice cream cone.  DH had never imagined there were such people.  But why else would they  offer a choice of cone or dish?  When I was in boarding school, there were several house mothers and teachers who would never have eaten an ice-cream cone in public.  publicly exposing your tongue like that?  It's indecent. And messy.

Do you prefer a cone or a dish for your ice-cream?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

More fish

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


 People asked, so here are close-ups. Tim, I was using the fish pin you made for me to hold the sweater closed.  I do love that pin!

And I also added a belt.  But without belt and pin, here it is.
Elbow length cuffed sleeve.  I wanted this sweater for warmth, but sleeves get in my way some times. A seed stitch cuff doesn't curl, adds a bit of eye-catching bulk (anything that draws the eye away from my hips is good) and blends the yarns nicely.
I knit it vertically in garter stitch, then seamed the shoulders, opened side vents and armholes, picked up and knitted sleeves, and finally added the eye-catching  horizontal center panel. Thick and purple and wooly-warm.  It still needs pockets, though.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Experiencing a different culture

Our favorite breakfast restaurant has a new owner and it's just not the same any more.  How can you honestly have a breakfast without ANY pork products?  Turkey bacon is not what I consider a treat.

So DH and I have been searching for a new breakfast place.  Today, we tried the Delta Cafe and Bar.  It's in a collegiate neighborhood which might account for the "artistic" leanings.  I don't know if you have to be tattooed to work there, or if you have to work there a certain period of time before they give you a tattoo, but the waitresses show more ink than many bikers I know. And our fellow patrons - if you need colorful characters for your next work of fiction, well come on down!  The woman with the echoing, glass-shattering laugh and the hairdo that looks like it might have baby birds in it.  Or the skinny young woman in the short shorts and the long sweater who evidently  suffered from a severe case of snake-leg.  She was sitting on her left foot, and had her right foot tucked up next to her meatless cheek on the chair.  I thought of asking her what she would do if she ever stepped in gum, but she was displaying for her young man, and probably wouldn't have known what I was talking about.  There was a dishwasher - blonde, 6ft2 or so.  Maybe 120lbs, with a beard about 18 inches long and braided.
There was the guy sitting right across from us who came in, slammed down a bloody Mary with celery stick, asparagus, lime wedge and salt on the rim, ate everything, including the lime rind, and left.  Breakfast of champions.

Anyhow, the food was quite good.  If I ever hit my goal weight, I'm going to go there and have a basket of beignets - fried dough with LOTS of powdered sugar.  DH had chicken-fried steak.  Good steak, but too much rosemary in the chicken gravy, and too much vinegar in the collard greens.  I had the "SE Standard." One egg, two slices of bacon, and a slice of toast.  It came with grits. I think I kind of like grits.  The bacon was crisp, not greasy, not burned.  And the egg was a perfectly acceptable poached egg.

Prices were good, service was pleasant and attentive, though the food took a long time to show up.  We'll probably go back for another try.  I like collard greens for breakfast.

I've finished another sweater.  This one done with Lorna's Laces wonderful wool.  All garter stitch, so it was easy to pick up the center panel knit sideways.  I may add pockets.  Oh, heck, who am I kidding? I have to add pockets.  What's the point of having a sweater without pockets?  It's many shades of purple,violet, and plum, and just cozy enough for outer wear on July the first in rainy Portland.

In fact, while the rest of the nation swelters and burns, we had the kind of day that makes you want to stay inside and bake peanut butter cookies.  So I did.  It makes the house so warm and cozy.