Wednesday, December 30, 2009

finished projects

amongst all the other goings on, i have managed to finish a couple of lingering knitting projects. i put a lot of angora yarns into the mitts and made the thumbs extra long for added warmth and comfort!

the good and the bad

and the snow experience was ugly!!! good news is the Apple store replaced the whole complete keyboard on my macbook and as a "one time courtesy" they did it for free! ($186.56 worth!) going to that mall was like going into hell for me, as i hate everything about malls... the full parking lots, mobs of people, strange lighting that hurts my eyes, and while i was there snowing started and went on and on and on... totally un-predicted by those weather people on the tv. and as much as i love my Prius and it's excellent gas mileage, i miss my pick-up truck with it's 4WD and standard transmission on a day like this. no choice but to head home (20+ miles) thru heavy snow comin' down and fast accumulating on the freeway. by the time i got to Banks, i'd seen a few cars in ditches and could feel the road getting slick, so i pulled into the parking lot at the market in Banks and called Jim.... several times, getting only answering machine and making a pitiful request for him to come and get me. he did!! he was actually out looking for me! (twice a hero in one week!) his little Nissan pickup has snow tires and extra weight in the back and we made it up the hills to home with little problem. snow tires for the Prius cost $400... money which is just not available right now. seems to be warming up a bit now. i can hear the snow sliding off the roof, which is metal. the sound is weird and eerie sliding down the dome, but means the snow on the ground won't last long. til it's gone i'll be staying home! i'm such a weather weenie!

Monday, December 28, 2009

all's well.. etc

The family dinner on Sat. was quite successful... actually, fabulous! family plus some friends came, drank wine, talked, opened gifts, ate lots, had fun! and the oven came to life early that morning. Jim went before dawn to an Amana parts store, got the replacement part and was home and had it installed in plenty of time to put the huge turkey in the oven at 11a.m. He earned huge hero points! note to self: when trying to decide how big a turkey to get for 20 people, check off the people who don't eat meat and also the small people who eat very little, especially at a big gathering where they'd rather chase their cousins around than sit still for eating! there were 5 small people and 3 vegetarians. and this means that there is a lot of a 23 pound turkey left, even after sending as much as i could to other people's homes.

the keyboard keys are getting harder and harder to depress, and i have an appointment tomorrow at the Apple store to meet with the "genius" (their label) to see what they can do. i'd much rather go to the Mac store (they are nicer to me, are closer and are not located in the biggest mall on the west side), but they said that Apple does not allow them to disassemble keyboards. as much as ihate big malls, i will take advantage of being there and see if i can find a glass tea pot on sale. i need one so that i can enjoy the flowering teas i got. small pleasures and all that!

it was a fun party, but i gotta say i was beyond exhausted by the end!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ohhhh no

and how special is that? ... my oven laid down and died today. yes, the very oven in which i'd been planning to roast a 22 pound turkey on saturday. the very oven in which i would bake a greek potato, olives and feta dish on friday, and an eggplant and zucchini dish on friday, so they'd be ready to heat up in the microwave on saturday while the turkey roasted in that oven. Jim figured out that it's the temp. sensor that went whacko and he called around to several amana parts places. they are all closed tomorrow (thursday) and there is one place way way over on the east side which might have the part available at 8a.m. on saturday. so, he could conceivably get the part and be back about 10a.m. and if he could figure out how to install the new part and do it by 11a.m., i could conceivably get a turkey roasted before family and guests (18 or 20 of 'em) are ready to eat. as a back up, the nearest neighbor is leaving town tomorrow at 11a.m., so will show me how her oven works before she goes and if i have to i can truck on over with my turkey on saturday. damn i hate complications. and besides that my keyboard is only just barely working because my grandboy knocked over my FULL drink onto my computer last week and the keys are very difficult to depress, which depresses me. and this was NOT the week to take it in to the mac store because that involves a long drive to the mall where the store is located, and that is a mall from hell any day of the week, but the week of xmas is likely to be more than i can bear without tipping right on over the edge. and i'm fully aware that my small travails compare to a grain of sand in the whole scheme of things in the world. guess i just need to rant because i am so pissed off at what is happening in congress right now with the health care reform or lack thereof. seems to me they are ignoring the priorities and needs of the people who sent them there. and tho i could turn this into a really big rant, i won't because it's late and i need to get happier thoughts in my brain before i go to bed.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Rejoicing in the return of the light! and wishing everyone a bright and joyous winter solstice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

back tonight from a short visit with the Duvall branch of the clan.

this photo is of Sunshine the fierce guard rooster and a watchful and handsome force to be reckoned with he is! sadly, his watch was down last week and a huge hawk got away with one of the hens, but previous to that he had stood his ground against a bobcat and was the winnah! he's gone a bit too far, tho, in trying to protect his flock from the humans and has met with the broom more than once. and this dude does look fierce when he is on the attack! Alex says that one of the hens, Sassy, is Sunshine's minion because she gives him a ride on her back pretty often.

Zylie came up with another beauty of a "Zylie-ism", over which i am still laughing. she was quietly playing a game, and everyone else in the room was occupied with their own thing. then, in a quiet, serious voice she came up with "Daddy, i think there's something wrong with my sense of smell.... i farted 3 times and didn't smell a thing". she got no comment on this... Chris and i were just too busted up over it to utter a word!

and now i'll spend some time getting ready to welcome back the light on monday and to have a gathering of the clan for a big dinner on saturday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


yesterday was a GOOD music day for me! listened to Prairie Home Companion while i was quilting, and the featured guest was YoYo Ma. the whole show was good, with some great xmas satire. Then in the evening i was able to banish my bah humbug scroogitude for a couple of hours. normally, the traditional xmas music is ok the 1st, 2nd... maybe 3rd time i hear it during this season, then i feel unpleasantly overfed with it! too damn much. but, however... last night Andrea Bocelli, the Italian tenor, had a program on PBS which was beautiful. very diversified guests with him... Reba McIntyre, Natalie Cole, the Muppets (!) and i always love Miss Piggy esp. when she is swooning all over a handsome tenor. anyway, the program was lovely and i could have listened to Andrea Bocelli all night! it put me in a very peaceful and mellow mood. no surprise that several of his CDs are now on my wish list!

Friday, December 11, 2009

it's cozy

hey!! it's a tea cozy!


yep... i know wintery weather has hit hard in many sections of the country, but to have 12F and 16F at night here all this week, in the rainy and mild pacific northwest just isn't normal and may be totally illegal! (like run-on sentences? i'm sure i'll have more). it is, in fact cold enough to freeze a witch's brass monkey. no kidding.... i'm worried about all the little birds as i've put out their fave black oil sunflower seeds in several feeders and they aren't empty yet. in fact, other than for about an hour yesterday when they made a mass attack on the feeders, they haven't been around. i wonder where they go when the below freezing temps are sustained for days in a row. maybe they huddle up together somewhere and try to wait it out.

it's very very very cold here! but wait... a bit of warming is on the way, starting with freezing rain and snow beginning tonight. oh, joy.....

Sunday, December 06, 2009

long nights.....

long dark cold winter nights! feeling like it's time to start preparing to celebrate the Winter Solstice (in 16 days). bring on the candles and green boughs.... bonfire and dancing!

Friday, December 04, 2009

devil sheep

living dangerously on the island of Crete, Greece

(thanks, Tracy!)

your list

for spinners/knitters... here's something for your wishlist: "all new Homespun Handknit" from Interweave Press, by Amy Clarke Moore. it has some really sweet projects in it, several of which i have already bookmarked!... quick and easy, down and dirty.. my kind of projects. seriously, i really like this book and i have absolutely no connection with this book or any hope of financial gain. just sayin' i like the book. i have the original of this book published umpty years ago and used it a lot... this one's better.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

a definition

rogue |rōg|
1 a dishonest or unprincipled man : you are a rogue and an embezzler.
• a person whose behavior one disapproves of but who is nonetheless likable or attractive (often used as a playful term of reproof) : Cenzo, you old rogue!
2 [usu. as adj. ] an elephant or other large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies : a rogue elephant.
• a person or thing that behaves in an aberrant, faulty, or unpredictable way : he hacked into data and ran rogue programs.
• an inferior or defective specimen among many satisfactory ones, esp. a seedling or plant deviating from the standard variety.
verb [ trans. ]
remove inferior or defective plants or seedlings from (a crop).
ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (denoting an idle vagrant): probably from Latin rogare ‘beg, ask,’ and related to obsolete slang roger[vagrant beggar] (many such cant terms were introduced toward the middle of the 16th cent.).

**** ETA
if you were going to use this word in the title of your book, do you think you might check the definition just to be sure it says what you want it to say???... or, maybe she did?

Monday, November 30, 2009

catching up

busy week.... Kate came down tuesday and i didn't go to the fiber-heaven warehouse with her, showing amazing restraint! Wed. we went to NW Wools so she could talk to Linda about a custom dyeing order, then to lunch, then to clinic to take care of my headcold which went rogue and became pneumonia.... better living thru chemistry with antibiotics and prednisone and oh, yeah, the cough syrup! then Chris and kids came down and we had bd dinner for Kate at the chinese restaurant in Banks, with her family joining in! tgiving feast at Jen and Maggie's with most of the tribe there... great dinner and amazing desserts! Kate went back on friday with the kids and Chris stayed to make raki with Jim... good job! i just laid around and coughed... and behold... today on day 5 of prednisone, it has finally kicked in and i'm now at last feeling way much better than a sack o' dog mess. in fact, headed out soon for a round of shopping (not for gifts... this is household essentials like coffee, bread and juice)

while in Crete, Kate and i found a wonderful shop with linens and i got this table runner. it's linen with embroidered ribbon flowers and is really beautiful. nice thing about a table runner is it's less likely to get food and wine spilled on it, thus avoiding frequent washings... a good thing.

a couple of weeks ago, i picked these flowers from my garden. gotta love the mild PNW weather. not much left now tho... too much rain. but here's the photos to keep the vision alive!

the pitcher is one of my faves and was a huge bargain at good will... like $5.

Friday, November 13, 2009

mitts for Zylie

i did manage to do a little (very little) knitting while in Crete. happened to have some bright and pretty BFL yarn and decided to knit mitts for Zylie and used a different approach since i wasn't sure how many sts. to cast on. made 'em flat, then made a gusset thing from wrist to thumb to make them fit, left a place for the thumb and grafted above that for the hand portion. picked up around the opening and made a thumb. worked out great... and she loved 'em! considering the amount of yarn that went with me, i could have made at least 6 pairs of socks, a scarf and maybe another pair of mitts. but where yarn is concerned... it's always good to have lots!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

playing catch-upf

the last week we were in Crete, there was a raki-making party. Tracy (from pdx) was with us for a week that Chris and Kate were there, so she got in on this event. they were distilling the grapes that we helped "smash" the 2nd night we were in Vamos.

this is the still, outside of a large and quite nice taverna. the fermented grapes go in the kettle (the dome-shaped thing on the right), the steam goes thru tubing which is submerged in the water tank (behind the ladder), and the raki comes out thru a pipe... it's down low on the left in front of the tree. and that's the making of fire water lesson for this evening.

Aristotles was intrigued by the fire.... and stayed back a respectable distance from it.

the decor inside the taverna was interesting! this is the head of a critter which i think was a goat hanging on the post in the corner. (ummm.... rustic!)

on the wall beside the fireplace. fascinating... and i wish i could have found out something about it.

and the cozy fireplace. above it is a wood cut-out of the island
Crete. and then the ever handy rifle used to shoot into the
air as part of the evening celebration... late evening ....after lots of wine and raki!

we had a nice Greek dinner while the distilling was going on,
and it was an ok evening, but not at all like other raki parties
we have been to.... mostly Brits and Dutch. nothing wrong with
that, but missing the authentic Greek flavor we've enjoyed
previously. and no gun shots!!

the kitten

the stray kitten - Hercules.... well, turns out that it's a she-kitten, so i changed the name to Herculina. She still needed the power of the big name. By the time i left, she had become so tame that she'd crawl up on the chair with me when i was sitting on the patio! and she had fattened up (that's a relative term as she wasn't really fat, but had added enough weight that she wasn't just skin and bones any more!) on milk, yoghurt, cheese and meat scraps! and i miss her and hope she's gotten enough of a start that she can survive. Xanthippi said she'd go by and feed her when she was on her rounds to feed other strays around Vamos.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

fiber news

Kate has opened her Etsy shop and has some really lovely handdyed spinning fibers and yarns for sale. I know you will love her work... I sure do. and i'm delighted that she will keep Woolgatherings going while i enjoy being retired. I hope she'll have as much fun as I did!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

home sweet home!!

and happy to be sleepin' in my own bed, loving on my sweet dogs and trying to find "normal" again. the journey took almost 30 hours this time, details later... maybe. went to bed at 4a.m., dragged out of bed at 4p.m. and kind of fumbled around til now. will see if i can find my benedryl and take one and go to bed again. as hellish as this trip is, it's still worth it for the time in Crete and i plan to go again in the spring.

ttfn and toddlin' off to bed! i do have more stories and photos which i hope to get to soon....

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Greek night at Liakoto

Jim and i had a really special evening at Liakoto Art Cafe. It was an evening devoted to the music of a well-known song-writer and singer in Greece. at the cafe that night there was live music and singing... and we seemed to be the only non-Greek people there. it wasn't long before the spontaneous dancing began and the whole atmosphere was awesome! it's the first time we've seen this happen in Crete and i loved every minute of it! everyone seems to dance with a kind of wild abandon, including dancing on chairs and tables! and, no, we didn't do any dancing... it seemed to be a totally Greek affair.

top photo is Nikos, who we've known for several years. he is also a fine photographer and had an exhibit in the gallery a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

OXI Day - National Greek Holiday

October 28 is a national holiday in Greece, celebrating the day that Greeks gave a resounding "Oxi" (No) to Mussolini's demand that Italian troops be allowed into Greece at the beginning of WW2. The celebration starts in the morning with the school children parading to the town square, wearing white shirts and black pants or skirts, carrying the Greek flag. Their parade is led by drummer and cymbals. However, it is pouring rain again today, so they marched to the church across the street from our house, with church bells ringing and priests chanting and singing. We could hear the mayor's speech via loudspeakers, and the enthusiastic response of the children!! the celebrating by the adults will likely continue into the night with lots of drinking of raki, general partying, and maybe even shooting of guns as part of it all.

It's not just raining here (and has been doing for the past week), there are heavy downpours with hours and hours of thunder and lightening. this is a new experience for me... it rains a lot in the pacific northwest, but damn! it's been years since i saw this much sustained rain. we even had to get the heat turned on in our house, so at least if we venture out, we can come home and get warm and dry. the house seems very empty now (sigh) as C&K&A&Z left monday evening to take the very large overnight ferry to Athens, have an overnight there and fly out early this morning back to WA. and friend Tracy left early tuesday a.m. to fly home. it was delightful to have 2 weeks with them here and we had fun times. and now a week more... and i have hopes that it will include a few more sunny warm days. as many times as we've come to Crete there has never been heavy sustained rains like this! at least we are on the side of a mountain so the water runs down from here to the Aegean Sea.` `.,

one more week and i'll home in the oregon rain again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

raki shots

Raki shots = tossing down fire water, the distilled remains of the grape crushing for wine making. it's harsh... but these 2 claim it beats trying to sip the stuff. i maintain that after the first couple of sips, your taste buds have gone dormant for the duration.

the "after" reaction.

thinking about another???

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hercules the kitten

a few nights ago this woebegone pitiful and starving kitten appeared on our patio and seemed to be terrified of anything that moved. so of course we put out a saucer of milk for him and he finally got brave enough to sample the milk... so we moved on to offering tidbits of cheese, yoghurt, left-over shrimp and we had him
hooked and he kept on coming back, tho still very skitterish. i named him Hercules because he is such a tiny, frightened little being that he needs a big, strong important name to grow into. he is kind of sort of beginning to let me get close to him. i don't know what kind of chance he has to grow up. Crete is the island of cats and there are many large territorial male cats around here that will guard their territory against any youngsters. hope he can live up to his name!!

rooster noodle dinner

the day after the Greek cooking class with Koula, Chris made for us the rooster noodle dinner. Zylie prefers naked noodles with a bit of ketchup, wanting nothing to do with dead rooster or anything else that had a mother.

it was delicious! Koula would have been proud!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

another Cretan cooking class

same cooking teacher, same location... this time Chris and Alex took the class... then Kate, Zylie and i were invited to enjoy the feast! and we certainly did! the rain started coming down for real just as we were setting the table and Toine put up 2 huge umbrellas and lit candles and we had lovely ambiance and a delicious dinner! there was a couple from Denmark and an Aussie/Brit couple, plus Koula's semi-son who is Greek/Canadian/French. after we cleaned up, Chris and I walked home past Liakoto, the Art Cafe, which was featuring live music tonight with
"Big Fish" in person. in contrast to our totally Cretan Greek evening, this rock and roll band was blasting out "Route 66"!! amusing, to say the least!!

that was last night. tonight Chris cooked up the main dish from his class... rooster cooked with noodles. it was delightfully delicious! he did very well... and Alex helped him!

Friday, October 16, 2009

a trip to Rethymnon

several days ago (i'm losing track of time and when we did what... not that it makes a lot of difference) we went to Rethymnon, which is the 3rd largest city in Crete and is probably my favorite. it's about an hour away and we went so that we could go to the farmers' market. we never did find the market and ended up wandering the streets and shops of the old town. that was actually just fine with me. we can get all the fresh vegetables and fruit we want at the supermarket in Vamos. (not to be confused with the likes of Safeway or Fred Meyer as there are 2 shopping aisles, they cut up chicken and lamb carcasses on the big butcher block at the back of the store, the cereal shelf has 1 each of 4 or 5 different cereals, you can buy the local wine and raki in recycled liter plastic water bottles... also local olive oil... just not like supermarkets in the U.S.)

i know it will be a sad day for Zylie when she is too big to ride on her dad's shoulders, which gives her the perfect vantage point!

we found Stella's Kitchen for a meal (and WC) where Jim and I have eaten and spent a night in her pension. i ordered the Cretan breakfast which was omelet with feta and tomato, Greek coffee, yoghurt with honey.... and was just perfect!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


it's a dark photo, but Spiros has climbed up on a chair to refill a container with the local red wine which they serve. they also attach a tubing to the spigot and do the refilling by releasing the clamp. not high tech, but it works!

everyone here misses Jim, and ask me with a kind of puckered look on the face... "Jimmy??" like they are afraid i'll say he's sick.. or worse... or maybe i ran away from home without him. so, they are always relieved when i say he stayed home to harvest his grapes and make his wine. relieved... but don't quite understand it.

Spiros and Nikos who run the taverna, agreed to a photo as a hello to Jim.

and Alekos who does the grilling sends his hello. He is from Georgia (as in Russia) and has been here for several years. he was a professional wrestler there and asked Chris if he was a wrestler, then gave him a big ole bear hug.

and aren't they all going to be surprised when Jim shows up here next Wed.???!!

family and other critters

Chris, Kate, Alex and Zylie arrived monday a.m. after spending a lot of time touring around western Crete trying to find the road to Vamos! it's wonderful to have them here!! they over-lapped one day with Judy and she got up at still-dark-o'clock for taxi ride to Hania airport.

Kate gathered up a bunch of the snails that hang out around here and we had snail observation for awhile. then went to Bloumosifi taverna for dinner. as always, there were many cats and kittens hanging around looking for handouts. animals of any kind are Zylie's bliss in life... so a tiny kitten which ended up crawling into her lap was perfect... for both of them. her daddy looks pretty happy about the kitten, too.

Chris's reintroduction to raki seems to be going well. he's been throwin' em back with a Mythos chaser. bravo... your dad would be proud of you!!

life is good and all the sweeter with this branch of the tribe here to share it with!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

see next post for details of cooking class...

the feasting table with zucchini fritters and dolmades.

Patty .. our friend from Holland who has been living in Crete for a few years.

tzitziki and kalitsounia .

Elena, Toine, Tatiana and Aristotle.

our class after enjoying our work.