Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Geekery, Yarn and Zines

Trekkies in Line Bagdad Theater
I'm not exactly sure how Chuck found out about it, but once he told me there was Star Trek in the Park in Portland I knew we had to move here. I thought we were going to have to wait until next year to catch the event but it turns out they were doing a special double feature this past weekend. A little different than the usual performance in Woodlawn Park, this took place at the Bagdad Theater on Hawthorne and was followed with a screening of the Wrath of Kahn. Yes, I am a Trekkie, I grew up with ST:TNG and DS9 which I love to pieces. And I definitely watched a lot of TOS when I was very little in reruns. Of course I guess I wasn't such a fan to know all of the details of where this Kahn person came from: The Eugenics Wars of the 1990s! Funny, I don't remember that. I love when we catch up to old sci-fi. We watched the original episode last night to compare and it was very close, they did a great job, right down to the fight scene choreography.

blue yarn
Over the weekend we also ventured out to some local yarn shops. Yarn Garden was on the way to the show. They had some really great deals and a great selection of vegan friendly yarns, it was hard to resist and stay focused on the project I was stashing for. With a little help from Chuck I stayed on track. Earlier in the weekend I finally went over to knit purl, which is very close to our apartment. They are a little more of a boutique yarn shop with lovely expensive yarns from Habu and Louet that I really want to work with at some point when I want to splurge on a project. Maybe it's a good thing I'll have to make a little bit of an effort to get to the larger shop! Meanwhile, knit purl has a great window display with yarns and bikes.

Stop Kitties! Stop Kitties!
There was also the Portland Zine Symposium, which I found out about from Mayor Sam Adams twitter. Although I guess I would have learned about it anyway since it was right up the street from us and there were signs at the farmers market. I don't know much about zines, but I love the DIY spirit. We came home with an anarchist vegan cookbook from the UK. There is a chapter on curry recipes I'm especially excited about. There were tons of cute looking things including postcards, flipbooks, buttons, and of course zines. I had to have the cookbook, and then I didn't have much cash for anything else. Maybe next year I'll go crazy. Meanwhile there's a great list of the attendees to review, and I think I'll be looking out for some of the vendors at bookshops around town!

(The last two pictures above are of some signage I saw on our walk across the Hawthorne Bridge, on our way to Yarn Garden and the Bagdad Theater. We also had some great vegan chili and the Bridgeport Ale House before the show, an event popular enough to have a pretty long line!)

Monday, August 30, 2010

First week in Portland

It's been well over a week now since we landed! This first week involved a lot of exploring and a lot of unpacking, of course. We took several walks around our area and I took my camera along each time so there are already a ton of pictures in my Portland collection on Flickr.

Swallow Swallows
On one of our first walks last week was to the waterfront. I guess there is some significant grade change here, even if it looks like less than downtown Seattle, because I was surprisingly sore the next day. It was worth it because it was a lovely sunny day but we also watched a family of swallows hanging out. I don't think I've ever run into swallows just hanging out before. Usually they are flying around quickly making it very difficult to capture them in photos. But these guys weren't busy at all, and weren't too bothered by our presence. It wasn't until after watching these guys for a while that I noticed our spot had a pretty nice, leaf and bridge framed view of the Mountain.

City of Bridges Views
Another excursion started with my suggestion that we go straight back on the park blocks to see where they end. We did that and kept walking, crossing the highway and heading to the bottom of the southwest hills. We came across a wooden stair and decided to find out where it went. (I also wanted to have a better reason to be sore, but surprisingly this climbing didn't seem to make me feel any worse.) It went up. A lot. Into a lot of greenery and a residential area with a range of architectural styles all designed around the amazing views. We climbed as far as we could and our adventure ended on a newly constructed road with several "lots" for sale. These lots are very steep and the homes we saw on this trek required significant supporting framework. On our way back down we saw a flock of tiny birds, about the size of hummingbirds, that we are still wondering what they were. The group was too fast to get any decent pictures. Also berries and two cute dogs. Well worth the effort!

Vegan Sausage & Maple Waffles Food Cart Burrito
Exploring downtown this week has also meant a lot of great vegan food from food carts, a phenomenon Portland is becoming known for. And finding vegan options isn't really a problem. Just check out that crazy waffle thing pictured above! Vegan sausage with maple icing in sandwich-ish form. It was good! Another food cart Chuck had a nice vegan burrito and a Mexican (cane sugar instead of corn syrup) coke for cheap, and I had a tempeh stir fry. I'm getting very hungry just thinking about the food carts....

peppers farmers market
And then there are also the Farmers Markets. There seem to be at least 3 markets that happen fairly close to our apartment. There's one going on right now as a matter of fact, but I think we have enough vegetables at the moment...at least enough to get us through to Wednesday, when there is another. Of course the Saturday market was the largest of the three. We bought our veggies there, I picked up a bouquet of flowers ($8!) and we had breakfast and lunch. And there was so much music! I saw a trombone, trumpet, cello, and violins, and that's not even considering the designated music tents! Exploring this city is going to be so much fun.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Portland: The Apartment

Maybe it helped that Chuck had the furniture moved in before I arrived, but I've never felt so instantly cozy in an apartment before. It's just right. It's got just enough storage (of course one could always use more, but all of our stuff fits.) This includes a storage closet, his and hers closets and a set of cabinets along the hallway to the bedroom.

starting to hang art Art in the Bathroom
We've were able to start unpacking right away and quickly moved on to hanging our art. We've currently got the dining nook, bathroom and bedroom figured out. The living room is going to take us a little longer to sort out. There's talk of another map, this time of Portland, over the couch, we're also waiting on an Ork Poster of Portland to complete our collection. We also need to figure out what kind of desk area we will be creating in this apartment, so we're holding off on some of the art hanging until that is figured out. Meanwhile, the bathroom has a sort of water theme, which includes some photos I took of Seattle in my photography course and a great cat-in-a-sink print by Leia Bell from Flatstock at Pitchfork music festival in 2008.

Bedroom Window Bedroom Art
Lastly, we moved on to the bedroom. Back in Chicago I took apart a 2008 calendar by Herman Yu. The images were just too lovely to toss, and we were in need of some wall art. In the Chicago apartment these were hung over the Expedit shelf, in sort of an entry area between the kitchen and the main living space. For this apartment we decided to hang them in the bedroom, and figured out a layout (using our AutoCad skills!) that would span the entire wall above the bed. I'm extremely please with these in the bedroom. They have a softer look than some of our other artwork and that seems perfect in that space. The opposite wall I think we will keep simple, with just my jewelry trees from Ikea.

Corner windows
Now that most of the art is up (as I said the living room will take a bit longer) I've started to move on to thinking about curtains. We have this great dining nook with corner windows! I forgot to mention that the proportions of the windows in this apartment are great. Just about shoulder width with nice deep window sills just big enough to sit on. I think our cat misses the floor to ceiling windows, and she's had a little trouble jumping into these sills, but I think once she gets the hang of it she will really like them too. Anyway, I found this pattern for knit curtains on knit picks yesterday and now I'm having trouble picturing this space with anything else. I remember seeing a pattern for knit curtains early in my knitting career and thinking that was a little bit crazy....and this would be a big project. Of course they wouldn't be full length here, maybe down to about the height the light fixture hangs. Regardless, it sounds like it will be a while before that is completed!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Days in Chicago

Rather than spending too much time in an empty apartment I did some exploring in my last few days in Chicago. My parents moved from Columbus to Chicago in 2008, around the same time Chuck and I moved there, so I hung out with my Dad for much of this exploration.

Montrose Harbor Montrose Harbor
First Dad took me to Montrose Harbor on the North Side. It has a bird sanctuary with natural landscaping that is very lovely. There are several of these natural areas popping up on the waterfront in Chicago, but Montrose Harbor was quite a bit larger than what I saw happening on the southern side of the city. It also has a fantastic view of the Chicago Skyline. It was pretty hot out that day, so we left the Harbor and drove to Andersonville. My parents kept telling me I needed to get over there to explore, and I only just barely made it before I left town, thanks to my dad. Lots of cute furniture shops, restaurants, a Mediterranean grocery, clothing stores, a huge shoe store and the Andersonville Galleria. I'm sure when I come back to Chicago for visits I will be coming back to see more of this neighborhood.

Wright + Cats! Arthur B. Heurtley House
On Friday I suggested Dad and I explore Oak Park. I had only been there a few times, including once on volunteer night for the Wright Plus Home tour. That experience made me realize that the area was full of interesting, extravagant homes, not just by Frank Lloyd Wright. Of course, we looked at several Wright homes on our visit, and we were floored by the unusual Moore-Dugal house. It's Wright's first independent commission from 1895, although he came back to work on it in 1923 after a fire destroyed upper levels. There are cats in the details! We saw a range of Wright's work and stopped by the fun bust of FLW himself. I recently read the book "Loving Frank", so we had to make a point of finding the Edwin Cheney house, which looks very comfortable and well landscaped.

All of this was a helpful distraction from the empty apartment, and I managed to leave the apartment mainly when kitty was asleep anyway. Next posts will be about Portland!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lucy in the Sky

not going as planned... view from c27

So I'm in Portland, OR now and it's lovely here. Of course, It was no easy feat getting here with all our stuff and our sweet cat Lucy. We've moved from the Midwest (last time from Columbus, OH, this time from Chicago) to the Northwest before (last time to Seattle, this time to Portland.) I've even flown with Lucy once before, during our move to Chicago. On its own it's no easy task!

This time was even more difficult. We found out Lucy was pretty sick the day before Chuck was going to leave with our moving truck. We found blood in her urine just before we were going to start loading the truck. We quickly made an appointment for that afternoon and took her straight to the vet as soon as we were done. We really weren't expecting to leave Lucy at the vet, but an ultrasound and x-ray showed a significant number of stones in her bladder; surgery was the best option. We wanted her to feel better as soon as possible, so we admitted her right away for surgery the next day.

The vet indicated that the flight with the cat would still be alright. Of course that didn't really alleviate my concerns about her and the whole situation. A move or a surgery alone was a lot to go through. After some consideration Chuck decided to go ahead and start his drive as planned. That left me to pick up the cat, try to give her the required medicine and help her cope with a completely empty apartment. I suspect that in Lucy's mind the empty apartment was the worst part of the whole experience.

For me it was the flight. Sleeping on an air mattress in an empty apartment is not great, true, but flying is hard enough these days without a cat. I was forced to miss my flight I suppose due to the fact that airlines can no longer seem to handle a traditional, non-electronic kiosk check-in. You really need to go to the desk when you fly with a pet, as far as I could, and I asked. In fact I went up to a completely empty desk, asked what I should do and was then sent to a completely full, non-moving line. A super fun line in which everyone was freaking out! At some point people started freaking out so much that they were cutting in line, with apparently no airline officials discouraging them in any way. By the time I was finally next in line I found out from a guy in front of me, on the same flight, that it was too late to check any baggage and there was (supposedly) nothing they could do. I had a 45.6 lb bag crammed with stuff which would take well over the 30 min. (or less, I don't really remember) that I had left to decide what I had to have or wanted to get rid of, and after that I'd still needed to get a cat through security. So in addition to the ridiculous fees I was already aware of and expecting I had to pay another $75 to change my flight. Yay.

My main concern was getting Lucy through all of this, and fortunately she did great. She was a little doped up on the pain killer patch from the surgery plus some sedative for the flight that clearly had an effect. She was pretty cool with everything. On her last adventure she ran all over her carrier, freaked out at take off and landing. This time she did not care. I am sure I stuck my nose into her carrier to check on her enough to make even the sweetest doped up cat (who is Lucy, btw) annoyed.

Meanwhile, Chuck had his own ordeal to go through driving a sixteen foot truck across the country. (It was supposed to be a ten foot truck, we asked for a ten foot truck. Yes, we will be writing some complaint letters about all of this in the near future!) Yet somehow he managed to move all the furniture into the apartment without me, before Lucy and I got there. Okay, so he found and hired some cheap movers, but point is it was all in the apartment when I got here. He didn't say anything about it, and I think my reaction upon entering the apartment was a slow blink, then I headed straight to the bedroom, put the cat down...it was moments before I could actually comprehend the situation enough to ask what was going on.

I think all of the familiar furniture in place when Lucy arrived was a big help for her recovery. She's still struggling with a few things, all of which the vet has reassured us are typical for her condition. She's been more and more alert every day and she's starting to figure out her routines. Meanwhile, Chuck and I are so happy to be back in the Northwest and are settling in. Our internet, until Friday, is fairly slow, but I've been trying to upload pictures. I'll post soon about my activities the last few days I was in Chicago, and then I'll start posting about exploring Portland!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Instead of Packing...

Trio of Cozies Kindle Cozy

I made several kindle cozies at the end of last week. They were a bunch of fun to make, and I'd probably be making more right now if I hadn't forced myself to pack up the knitting today (well save one travel project.) Since I've been wanting to get some knitting into the etsy shop, and since I suppose I don't really have any personal need for multiple kindle cozies, these will probably go into the shop at the other end of our move. I'd post them right now, but supplies for proper photography and everything are....who knows where. Packed away hopefully! Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if I end up making some smaller versions for cell phones, digital cameras, etc, once that knitting box gets opened in Portland...

Also...just one more day for the etsy shop sale!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moving Sale

Everything in my shop is on sale from now until Aug. 17th when we pack up the truck! 20% off all jewelry, and paper goods are buy two get one free! And there will be some new stuff going into the shop at the other end of this move, here's a preview.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I know it's been ages since I posted. There's been a lot of stuff happening. In short we went to Portland, OR at the end of July to collect further evidence that we should move there. And now we are packing up our apartment in Chicago and will be moving across the country for the third (and hopefully last) time very very soon. Okay, so we pretty much had our mind made up before our trip, but take a look at what we found there:

Beer Fest
Day one we stumbled onto the Oregon Brewers Festival. We had been so preoccupied with planning our trip (not as tourists but as people about to move there) that we hadn't spent any time looking into events or fun activities. But that's okay, Portland took care of us. Even though it was the last day and they seemed dangerously close to running out we managed to get our 2.5 cups each of tasty tasty beer. I was partial to the Fearless Scottish Ale. It was a wonderful, laid-back event with occasional outbreaks of "Wooo!" Someone would start shouting "Woo!" and if it was a good one the rest of the crowd would raise their glass and join in. I did not start any rounds of cheers, maybe next year. Chuck observed that women seemed to be more successful at starting the cheers than men.

Vegan strip
There is a vegan strip mall in Portland. It contains Sweetpea Baking Co., Herbivore Clothing, Food Fight and even a vegan tattoo parlor. We made at least 3 trips to the bakery; the danish was fantastic as was all the chocolate-y peanut butter goodness Chuck ate. And lunch there was great too. Of course there is plenty of vegan friendliness all over the city. Voodoo Doughnut has a separate vegan menu. We ate at a sandwich shop called The People's Sandwich of Portland where the signature sandwich ("the people's sandwich") is vegan. I even had vegan corn dogs. Not that I've ever really had much interest in having vegan corn dogs...it's not something I've missed. But I felt I had to try it for novelty's sake. They were everything you would expect of corn dogs without the nasty hot dog (I believe it was a tofu dog instead.)

Director Park
Portland has parks of all shapes and sizes. The one pictured above is Director Park, which was completed recently. All of these parks and plazas seem very well used at all times of day, just look at all those kids playing in the fountain! This was on a weekday afternoon. There are also the Park Blocks and Waterfront Park, which I can't wait to see next spring when the cherry trees are in bloom! I also found myself taking lots of pictures of trees. They are large and impressive and I have really missed the size and types of trees in the Northwest.

So we are wrapping up our time in Chicago, packing things into boxes. On that note, I am having a moving sale in the Etsy shop until Aug. 17th, when things start going into the truck.