I've been experimenting with different bag shapes and here's the latest pattern I've drafted.
For a while I got stuck on drafting 100% geometric patterns because I hate wasting fabric. The more curves there are in a pattern the more scraps I end up with. Cannot bear to throw away all the odds and ends of unused fabric and my scrap box is brimming over. I think I like curved bags and I guess that means it's time to start thinking about quilting. This bag is posted on Etsy.
I had a dream that was so vivid that I thought it was real. The basic synopsis was that we 'found' a secret bathroom in our flat. It was a cantilevered extension with a rustic beamed Tudor interior. The ceiling was very low and as I stepped into the bathtub I realized that it was made out of a clear acrylic and that you could see the garden three stories down.
"This is going to be very expensive."
It was terrifying and I woke up in a cold sweat.
My psyche is obviously tired of the money-pit.
1. Always invest in a full face helmet that covers your jaw. This is imperative if you want to sing at the top of your lungs because it helps calm your nerves in London traffic.
2. Drive at the speed you feel comfortable and if some crazy car driver is tailgating you to make you go faster; pull over and let them get on with their crazy aggressive day.
3. Just because someone is in the right turn lane at a stoplight; it doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to turn right. Especially not at Vauxhall Bridge Road.
4. From time to time a bug will hit your helmet. This will make a loud noise and scare the bejebus out of you. Accept that it will happen.
5. Don't filter if you're not comfortable doing it. It's okay to wait in traffic and pretend you're a car. If you are going to filter, watch out for cyclist. For some reason when they start to filter very few of them look behind them to see if anything is approaching, particularly a quick two wheeled vehicle (please note that I was a London cyclist for four years, I'm probably guilty of this too).
2. Stand up comedian
3. Rock climber
4. Married to Davy Jones
These are listed in random order:
1. Thanksgiving 2003: I was back in the Bay Area but my parents were in Thailand and I was on my lonesome for Thanksgiving. I got invited over to my best friend's step-mother's sister's house. They are Chinese and we feasted on fresh crab that had been hauled in from Half Moon Bay. The only traditional Thanksgiving item was a can of jellied cranberry sauce that someone had artfully dispensed retaining it's can shape, untouched, throughout the entire meal. The family was great, Jake ran around the house chasing the dog with crab claws and we spent after dinner playing blackjack and placing dollar bets. Fantastic night, great people, great food. I won $11.
2. Soup in Portugal with Victor 2006: We met up with my sister and brother-in-law in Portugal and we spent a week touring the country together. We had dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by the hotelier. It was a small dark place located down a narrow alley way. The interior was rustic; decorated with old napkins that people had written on and trophy hunting warthog heads. The waiter wasn't clear on portion sizes and we ordered way too much food. The meat dishes, while delicious, looked like something from a slasher horror movie with gristle and bone on full display.
The highlight of the meal was the soup which consisted of beans, ham hock and cabbage in a thick stew broth. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I've tried endlessly to recreate it at home and it's never as good.
The fellow sitting next to us spoke fluently in Portuguese to the waiter and halfway through our meal leaned in to us and said in perfect English, "You ordered way too much food". After we got through a few obligatory questions about our American political leanings, and who we voted for, we became friends. His name was Victor, he was a nice fellow who I think took a liking to my sister and introduced us to pickled sardines.
3. Anything my Mom cooks: Doesn't matter who your Mom is or what she cooks, it goes without saying that Mom's cooking is always the best. I love going home just to have a meal cooked by my mother. She makes pretty much everything from scratch and her salad dressings are to die for.
4. Sandra's Sunday Roasts: From lamb to beef, Sandra has the art of cooking a roast down to a science. Crispy Roast Parsnips and Potatoes, Yorkshire Puddings, Runner beans and Spring Greens. Often when people come to the UK as a tourist they think that they've got to get Fish and Chips. The secret really, if you want the true British experience, is to get a homemade Sunday Roast.
5. Grandmom's 15 Bean Soup: I love Grandmom's 15 bean soup. This is a slow cooking soup; a mixture of 15 different beans and a ham hock. Served with popcorn, of course.
6. Shanna's Garlic, Paprika and Balsamic Vinegar Chicken 2002: Shanna made this for my Grandparents and myself during a trip to LA right before her wedding. I was there when she made it. It was a butchered chicken sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar then dusted with Paprika. A whole head of garlic cloves sprinkled around the chicken to roast. When the chicken was done the roasted garlic was mashed with the drippings to make a sauce. It sounds simple but no matter how hard I try my version is never quite as good as hers. I think she snuck some MSG or other illicit tasty good in when I wasn't looking. Nothing that simple can taste that good.
7. Buckwheat Crepes in France 2008: Simple perfectly cooked buckwheat crepe filled with cheese and ham served by a witty waiter late in the evening on a warm June's day. Homemade cider to compliment.
8. Pulled Pork Sandwich at Full Sail Brewery in Hood River Oregon 2008: Hoagie bun, toasted, with perfectly cooked pork topped with tomato and miso cole slaw. In the company of my extended family, lots of laughter, it was a great evening.
9. Subway Sandwich after Burning Man in 1996: After spending three days eating small portions of Vegan food in a very temperamental desert - It was destiny that the first thing I ate after that was going to be life altering. Too bad it had to be from Subway.
10. Baubi's Matzo Ball Soup: Regardless that I haven't had this in a very long time as my paternal grandmother passed away when I was in high school; her Matzo Ball Soup will always be in my top ten. Whenever I have it now I always think of my grandmother and what an incredible woman she was.
11. Shark that my Dad had caught when we were camping/kayaking in Vancouver 1983ish: My dad was getting a PhD in Marine Biology when I was little and we spent a lot of time out on the ocean. We had a three man kayak and we use to go camping among the many small Islands in the Puget Sound. Dad would go off fishing by his lonesome while Mom would look after us at the camp. I distinctly remember him once showing up with a small shark he caught. Dad gutted it like a champ and we had it BBQ'ed to perfection over the campfire. Delicious. I can still remember it perfectly to this day.
I'm trying to keep my lists down to five items, but the problem with this list is that I love food. Most of my travel memories consist of what I ate when. I obsess over what I'm going to eat next and try to pick apart recipes. I am forever in the search for obscure ingredients.
1. I'm detrimentally shy in social groups of British people who I don't know well because I'm afraid of being known as the loud obnoxious American or the crazy Californian. Which is kind of hard because I'm a little of both.
2. I enjoy driving a Vespa much more than I had ever anticipated. I love its low hum and quick acceleration; but driving it in London still scares the bejebus out of me.
3. Living abroad became harder after the birth of my nephew.
4. There isn't any junk food in my kitchen. Despite my childhood ambitions of not stocking my kitchen like my super-healthy parents - my adult kitchen is stocked nearly identically, with exception to the packet of Jello Instant Custard from the 1970's that came with the house. Mom, Dad, please don't throw that away (it's in the top turntable). I like knowing that it's there.
5. I moved to London because the dot.com bubble collapsed just as I graduated from University and I had trouble finding work in the Bay Area as a graphic designer. Truthfully though: I was deeply influenced by Jarvis Cocker and Robert Smith. I envisioned an island stocked full of cute mod rockers and that was enough to make me buy the plane ticket over.
1. The weather this summer has been so poor that I've lost all sense that it's August. I've currently got a very disoriented sense of time and season.
2. I will not ask Sam why there is interior paint on the inside of our toilet bowl. It gives the bathroom character and I'm afraid it will go if I casually raise it in conversation.
3. Victor Borge. Completely forgot about him, must not do that again. Can't remember if I saw him live at the Flint Center or if I'm confusing that with The Smothers Brothers. This is an embarrassing omission not for the fact that it shows my memory is going but because it shows my true geekery.
4. When I was little I thought it was part of my destiny to discover the last living Dodo bird. Too much National Geographic can set unrealistic expectations in children, I was a strange child.
5. Must find a good recipe for stuffed aubergine (eggplant).
After all the great reviews of Wall-E on NPR, I had to see it. We decided to go to the new 02 Arena as the venue of choice; we'd never been there and it seemed quite fun to make an evening of taking the Greenwich Clipper as part of the adventure.
The 02 arena was formerly the Millennium dome, and Wikipedia defines it as "first American style multi-purpose arena in London". All in all as an entertainment complex it does have quite an American Vegas feel to it; the city within a building nuance. When we were there last night to see the film there was also a Kylie Minogue concert and an exhibit on Tutankhamun.
Whilst I was very impressed with the execution of the interior; we had a series of poor customer service experiences that were lackluster. It makes me think that the arena is all bling and no substance. Based on the fact that there are always new crowds coming in for the arena events perhaps the eating establishments don't need to rely on repeat business.
American Bar and Grill (owned by Greenwich Inc)
Great interior; disaster in terms of customer service. Our pulled pork sandwiches arrived (cold) within two minutes of our appetizers being served - with the explanation that they thought we would be in a hurry for the Kylie show. I never envisioned myself looking like a Kylie fan, I guess I'll take that as a compliment.
Sandwiches were sent back asking for the meat to be heated and we got them back at the same temperature. I ended up taking a bite of the sandwich, it wasn't really what a pulled pork sandwich should be* and decided to just stick to the fries. Sam's entree was removed by the waitress prior to him being finished (I guess we looked anxious to make that Kylie show). I should add that at this time the place wasn't busy and I don't know why they were rushing us through. Noted that "optional" gratuity was added to the bill, I expect that was to compliment the "optional" service.
Greenwich Inc, the parent company, owns quite a few restaurants in the Greenwich area and is fronted by an American, who is known colloquially as Frank the Yank. As an American who is running an 'American' themed restaurant in London I wonder if the quality of service and food quality meets his own expectations.
Ha ha Bar and Grill
As we'd been rushed through dinner we had quite a bit of time to kill before the movie. So we thought to have a gin and tonic before the show started. Great, easy, right? I got my Gin and Tonic and the glass it was in was visibly filthy. I pointed that out to the bartender and she agreed and apologized. She promptly took it back to the other side of the bar and as Sam and I were watching (she isn't going to, she isn't going to, she is!!) she poured the contents of the dirty glass into a new clean glass. *Thanks*, that's only mildly gross.
I've got to admit, I do have a high level of expectation when it comes to dining out and maybe I need to chill out a bit on that front. I worked in restaurants for years and what to expect in a restaurant is ingrained in me. There are plenty of restaurants in London that do get it spot on and I know it's not that hard and I guess that's why last night's experience was disappointing.
O2 Vue Cinema
Awesome. Nice. Clean. Stadium seating. Fully automated ticking system. Much better than filmworks. Loved the film, Wall-E was well worth the trip.
Will I go back to the 02? Certainly for a film or a concert but I'll probably think twice before making the choice to eat or drink there again.
*It should be noted that I love pulled pork sandwiches and if they're on the menu, I'll order them. The problem with the sandwich last night was sauce was too sickly sweet, generic wholesale hamburger bun and no coleslaw. The perfect pulled pork sandwich is usually served on a kaiser roll and is the perfect marriage of pulled pork goodness complimented by coleslaw. Pulled pork should be smoky and tangy and not taste like BBQ sauce from a bottle.