The first few days of the school holidays and yes it has been exciting! No, actually it felt like a very long week, but I had something to look forward to after completing 2 more subjects in my Teaching course I had a goal of seeing Hamilton – An American Musical in San Francisco. As it happened my good friend and her daughter was seeing it on the same day, so we met for lunch before the show. We were all very excited to see Hamilton at last, after listening to the soundtrack many times!!
To pass the time this week – the kids enjoyed cat encounters at their swimming class in the Los Altos Hills.
I experimented with coconut milk and rockmelon to make this delicious lassi. Another fave food item I found this week was Coconut Manna my neighbour made me buy it to taste it, and it is divine, I made raw brownie bites as a treat! I need to catalogue this as it was too easy to make and way cheaper than buying chocolate as an after dinner treat.
And finally Saturday came around, and I was preparing for my adventure on Thursday as there were little things to organise like making sure I had the ticket!! So it turned out I was sitting alone in the Loge section of the theatre at seat C26, and it was incredible, it was hard to know when you spend so much on a ticket to the show and hope that the seats are good. This turned out perfect, and with my binoculars, I got an excellent view of the whole cast. The funny thing was in all the seats in the theatre I bought a seat sitting behind friends from Mountain View who had bought their tickets in December – all 6 of them! Now that is a small world :D, and there they are in front of me in the bottom image.
Funnily enough, I actually enjoy going to the theatre but spending the $ and finding a show I love is rare – rare enough that in all the 10 years I have lived in the Bay Area I have not been to one show in San Francisco. I have been to smaller productions here locally but not a Broadway show, and I was blown away by how spectacular it was! Now I really get the amount of cash spent on tickets for shows like this as they are incredible. I really enjoyed the soundtrack, and I realised if I don’t go to see this show in San Francisco when will be the time to see it? I am not going to New York anytime soon, and that show was totally sold out anyway! So I managed to find a seat between some friendly folks and really enjoyed my first Broadway show experience here in San Francisco! The pictures say it all, I was very excited!!
After the show, I met up for a final farewell to my friends before the summer, and we take off to Australia – it was so cool for my friend’s daughter to get a signed autograph and picture of Ryan Alvarado who played Hamilton at our matinee performance!
Sunday was the ice cream social at our park, and the neighbours came out in force getting their free ice cream on a windy, sunny day! I met my lovely friend / ceramic teacher Susan who did the face painting for the kiddos, and her work is beautiful, and all the kids were super happy, I especially loved the huge unicorn on my neighbours face.
We decided at the last minute to apply for a house sit up in Washington State for the holidays – we submitted as a family and the owner of the house was happy for us to come up to the island and look after her 3 cats for 10 days. We had no idea where this island was and the logistics have been a bit tricky as we had to meet up on Saturday for a tour of the house and how to care for the cats. Everything happened so quickly and we managed to book our flights in time and book an Air BnB in Seattle for the night before to catch up with our friends for dinner. As we travelled to Whidbey Island at the northern boundary of Puget Sound on Saturday morning we saw some snow and as we travelled further north there was more snow and we drove onto the ferry and landed on the island to being snowed on! What an experience driving in snow in a small little hire car, thank goodness we made it to the house and were warm and toasty to watch the end of the snowfall from safely inside our house sit.
Last Tuesday was the final workshop at the library for the Sew Sew with FabMo and we made Christmas decorations with felt and FabMo fabric. It is a fun little hand sewing project with various levels of skills in sewing which I always love. We had beginners who made tried sewing for the first time to a European contingent who were very skilled with a needle and made their own creatures including a hedgehog. I highly recommend coming to check this out if you would like to make your own decorations for friends or family and want to start sewing with a small project.
Wednesday I had a lunch date with a friend of mine who has just started a job at Stanford. I promised we would get together for some art lunch dates while she is working there so it was the perfect time to head on down to see the Nick Cave sound suit exhibit. We had been to the De Young and that is where I saw my first Nick Cave sound suit and I had to ask my friend this isn’t Nick Cave from the Bad Seeds fame. Lucky she knew and put me in the right direction, since then I have been researching these wonderful sound suits and the choreography with the suits and I really love them and the stories behind each suit. I am totally drawn to them as they are so textile focused and that is my love.
What I really enjoyed is the detail of each suit – as you can see in these pics there are lots and lots of buttons sewn onto the fabric as are pieces of knitted fabric pieces with a little-stuffed toy in between. The brushed wire is amazing in real life.
As a family activity, this is wonderful with a felt wall so you can decorate the sound suits as well as a caravan out the front of the gallery to design your own sound suit – the interactivity for the kids would make it a great winter activity for the school holidays.
If you have already had lunch a wander down to the Arizona Cactus garden is a fun thing to do with an amazing collection of cactus and succulents. I just love succulents so I was in plant heaven checking this out – the light was overcast and perfect for photographs as there were no shadows. The parking is $1.25 for 30 minutes so I would recommend a couple of hours max and then finding somewhere to eat close by or even head on back home if you are a local.
While I was near the cactus garden there is a mausoleum for the Stanford family and right next to them a sculpture of the family with these icons beneath them on how they envisaged the university for their son who passed away at 15 years old from typhoid. The Stanford family then wanted to educate all the children of California, they had some grand plans for the time and their sense of education was pioneering. I really liked seeing crafts, science and art as part of their vision.
On Friday and we made our way to the airport to fly to Seattle – we stayed the night in an Air BnB and visited our friends who live close by for dinner. We had a tasty dinner of Thai food and we walked from their house to the downtown for ice cream?!? Yes, ice cream in winter – there are 3 ice cream shops within a block of our friend’s house. We went to this place called the Nutty Squirrel and I enjoyed an amazing combination of Olive oil and Clementine on a cold winters night. After ice cream we went to our friend’s neighbours house for a nice glass of red wine – I am loving the Pacific North West.
Saturday we made our way up to the island with no idea that we were going to be travelling in the snow. As we headed up north on the I-5 the snow was coming down and by the time we made it to the ferry, there was a blanket of snow on the ground. We drove onto the ferry and sat in the car for the 30-minute ride and off we went on the island to find a coffee shop to enjoy a snack before we drove up to the house. The Useless Bay Coffee Shop in Langley was recommended to us and it was a real local hangout with excellent service and food. After our snack we made it out to the snowfall and had to drive a hire car in the snow – what a scary experience. The drive to the house had a few hills and with the power of the universe, we made it to the house with no chains on the tyres and the car riding a rollercoaster ride on the snow.
With a sigh or relief, we found the house with the driveway covered in snow – I had to quickly text the owner to let us know which garage to enter in as it would be so hard to move the car out in the snow. We had only met via email so to meet each other in person finally was so good. We toured the house and checked out where the kitties hide and here we are, enjoying a quiet, relaxing break away from everything.
There are 3 kitties to look after at this house with an older cat called Spike living in the house and he really loves brushing. He is used to us now and loves to get brushes whenever he comes out from his resting spot. The other two kitties live in a barn as professional rat catchers. They have their own little room with a heater and lots of cat toys and even a chair to hang out with them for pats. They are Artemis and Apollo and enjoy our visits to give them some snacks in their cat hangout room.
Today in 5-degree celsius weather I took a wander through the orchard to see if I could find any apples on the trees, there was just one with other little ones who are just hanging on. The owner of the house gave us some cider from these orchards and we had some mulling spices to make a delicious mulled cider and so our festive season began.
Last week was just too busy for my liking! I managed to grab some open windows of time to get work done for a friend of mine with her pillow project which I am happy to say is completed! The tricky part was installing an invisible zip. I had worked with zippers before on clothing but not for someone who is paying me for professional work so it had to look extra spiffy. In the end I embraced a love for invisible zippers and now I want to put a zip in everything! I took them over to my friends place yesterday and the pillows look lovely in her Eichler house.
With that project completed with the hand sewing on Saturday while I was watching Eurovision 2014 with the bearded lady on the Internet I am somewhat free for other projects at hand. The class yearbook has been sucking up a lot of my time lately but that will be off to print on Friday – yay!
All this extra real work did not create any time for my fun projects this week so I grabbed my camera with a 50mm lens and took it out to Stow Lake at Golden Gate Park for a Mothers Day sojourn with my friend and her family! We went for a lovely row in a rowboat with my hubby and son on the oars and after our boat ride we went for a wander to Park Chow for some delicious sustainable fish tacos!
On our way back we wandered by a big band performing and looked at some waterfalls between the De Young and the Cal Academy of Sciences and the weather was just perfect!
After all the craziness of final weeks school I planned some time away to visit my friend in Portland, Oregon. This is a place where I could move to tomorrow with it’s amazing food and lifestyle. It was such a place of dreams where I could buy vegetarian food with a depth of flavour I had never experienced before, eaten ice cream with strawberry balsamic vinegar and pickled strawberries and eaten sustainable sushi with tasty cocktails as well. I have to say the cocktails have to be some of the best I have tried with local artisan gin called aviator and this incredible ginger liqeur my friend used in the cocktails at home. Well the dream had to end and now I am back to reality with the everyday but my inspiration has been with cooking my daily meals with the hope to replicate something of what Portland has to offer! I have a few pictures of the highlights of my vacay away…
Gonna take you for a ride on a big jet plane…
Natural Selection desserts – the first restaurant I visited in Portland, a vegetarian heaven
Oh yeah – the Portland Naked Bike Ride
Drinking cocktails with my friend – a Linoncello cocktail for me!
Lobster Ravioli with Marscapone – dreamy!
Super fresh Rice Paper Rolls with a dipping sauce – perfect with the truffle oil fries on the side (I was hungover that day!)
Mother’s in the city – my brunch frittata with feta and olive goodness
An ice cream treat after I had my tattoo below – this is a Salt and Straw combination of flavours
My tattoo from the wonderful tattoo artist Cody at Scapegoat tattoo
A bowl of sustainable sashimi at Bamboo – something sushi fantasies are made of
At Portland airport – a fond farewell
My new favourite shoes for the season by FLY London – I love shopping in Portland with no sales tax!