Monday, February 20, 2023

More on yellow

I am going away for a few days; I will probably take pictures, but if I am going to update the blog while it is still February, I'd best do it now. 

I did cook some things from Jamie Oliver's book this month, but didn't write them up. I did a lot of the recipes from that book when I first got it so didn't want to repeat, although I can say there are a lot of nice things in there. This month I made a chicken and potato dish which was nice but a bit fussy. You boil the potatoes, and fry up some bits of chicken, then put it all in a pan with some cherry tomatoes and bake it. Seems excessive, though it was very good. When I get back, it'll be March and time for Ottolenghi's Plenty More. 

I now present a bucket-load of yellow things!

In no particular order...

Witch hazel

I don't think this is forsythia

A yellow building with some history; now a coffee shop

The sulphur piles in the harbour


My new knitting needle holder on my yellow wall

Yellow is for caution

This woman in yellow had to work hard at her job

More signs

Greater Vancouver Water District

This car often parks in our lane

Yellow leaves

Yellow pub

I watched other people run a half-marathon around the park. Much yellow, but there was more black

In March we will take a look at Weather for the photo theme. Should be good, because we are full of weather here. 


Sunday, February 05, 2023

Yellow month

I can tell already that yellow month will be a bit of a challenge. Not because there is nothing yellow around, but because it's all traffic signs and caution tape and lines on the road. And things at the grocery store. 

Our nearest grocery store is a No-Frills, the land of no name, the yellow label. We like their olives for "everyday," but you can get everything with a yellow label. I will try not to take too many pictures of food. 

This is a warning sign that at least is a bit unique. There aren't many signs warning the trucks to avoid low tree branches. The tree in question is a beautiful red oak in a park; I'm sure there would be trouble if the city tried to cut the gigantic low limb off. 

In the natural world, we are not quite ready for daffodils here, but I got some yellowy catkins. 

I will continue to look out for daffodils, and I'm pretty sure I can get some of those before the month is out, and I must find some yellow that is not traffic signs or other obvious things. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

A word about stitch numbers

Yesterday I said I had 40,000 stitches left to do on my blanket. Incorrect! My rows are actually only 262 stitches wide, so that cuts it down to 26,200. I knit 3 rows last night, that makes 786, so that leaves me with 25,414 to go. If I want to finish in a week I have to do 3,630.6 stitches per day. Which is 13.9 rows. More or less. Seems doable so I will try to do that. You heard it first here. 

It is February, so time for Jamie Oliver recipes and photos of yellow. Road signs, daffodils, sunsets, spring clothes? 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The final zigzag

Since this is a knitting blog, I will show you my zig-zaggedy knitting. I've been working on this since July 2021, but I was going back and forth to Toronto, and it was staying here in Vancouver. I figure I have about.... 40,000 stitches to go! I can hardly believe that, but it seems to be so, if my rows are almost 400 stitches wide and I need to do a hundred of them. But, I mean to finish 'er off soon!

Brown and green zigzags: 

Green and other green zigzags: 

Blue and brown zigzags: 

It's supposed to reflect the colours of the park: greens, blues, brown and the occasional pink of the cherry blossoms. I think it is a bit more zingy than the park on an average day, but it works. We were faced with buying furniture in the pandemic and everything available seemed to be grey, so we wanted something lively. 

I made my last recipe of the month from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites yesterday. So easy, so good. Take your feta cheese and cut it into bits. The picture in the book has nice even rectangles, but mine crumbled and broke. Zest and juice a lemon. Mix the juice with a bit of olive oil and drizzle that on the cheese, sprinkle the zest over, grind some pepper. The end! It is lovely on crackers, they say you can add it to a salad, or just pop it in your mouth and eat it! Yummy. 

I took a walk around Lost Lagoon this afternoon and saw this heron looking all majestic. A day with a heron is always a good day. 

A day with a duck is also a pretty fine day! This one was walking on the slushy ice, which was probably about half an inch thick. 

And now I must get back to my knitting! Forty thousand stitches to go!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Mapo tofu and more libraries

Yesterday a friend and I ticked two more libraries off the list. 

We started at a SkyTrain station in East Vancouver, found a dim sum restaurant and had a great lunch, and then walked to the Collingwood Branch. It's a small branch, in a purpose-built building from 1951 -- they had some pictures in the foyer of it being opened. My friend actually remembered going there as a child! 

There was a Chinese language section, a decent-sized children's collection, and enough books and magazines, including a good shelf of "things to do around Vancouver" books. 

I was seduced by the Vogue Knitting magazines and picked up two; there was a display for Veganuary so I got a cookbook to look at; and I even found a book about trails in Stanley Park, so I was well loaded-down when we left. 

We discovered that another branch was not too far away, and getting there involved walking by a ravine, so we tried that out. 

It's great to see the mountains to the north of the city from a different angle. 

The Renfrew branch is in a community centre complex, and we first went in the building with the swimming pool and some 8-year-old's birthday party, but a friendly dad sent us in the right direction.
My selfie skills need some work

A new building, with a large, airy main room for the library, really quite nice! We looked at more and more books, but didn't burden ourselves with any more to carry. We also didn't look around for a coffee shop or anywhere to have a muffin, but just walked back to the station and headed out. 

It was a good walk and a good lunch and I found a ravine, so a successful day!

Since it's the end of the month I should update you on the cookbook situation. We had a great success with Moosewood's Mushroom Mapo Tofu. You marinate cubed tofu in chili-garlic sauce with vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, tomato paste, sesame oil, water and sherry, except we didn't have any sherry. Then you cook up onions and a ton of mushrooms, add the tofu and cook it all together for a while. Serve it on rice with broccoli, voilĂ . Throw some green onions on for pretty, and they suggest walnuts as well. Oh, yes: this is vegetarian, but if you happen to have some ground lamb around and you wonder what to do with that, it goes in this very nicely! 

I've also made coconut rice, which is rice cooked in coconut milk: not very thrilling really. I made their ratatouille as well, which is a bit crazy for January, since we used canned tomatoes. It was eggplanty spaghetti sauce, which I like, but Stephen said was "not very exciting." And there was hummus: a very basic recipe in which you throw chick peas and tahini and lemon and garlic in a blender with a bit of spice and whoosh it up. 

There are other recipes I love in this book but I wanted to try new things. The mapo tofu will certainly be a recipe we go back to. We have to eat today and tomorrow, so who knows if we will get another recipe in? For February, we get to look at Jamie at Home, a good Jamie Oliver book. It's quite familiar, but I am sure we can find some new treats. 

Zigzag month is also coming to an end. We have some human-made zigzags, like a staircase and a pattern in bricks. 

We also have a couple of natural zigzags: a leaf and a crack in some bark. 

I like these things that are not too clear-cut. What exactly is a zigzag? 

I have one more zigzag to show you tomorrow. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Some zigzags and another library

I was out the other day looking for zigzags. 

There's one way across the water, but my poor wee camera phone couldn't zoom quite enough. 

Coming around Stanley Park, we see the zigzags of the boat houses at the yacht club. 

That's about as close as I am likely to get to the yacht club. There is a rowing club nearby which apparently has a nice bar and a dock to sit on in the summertime and watch the boats go by, so we are thinking of joining that. As my friend says, I am good at sitting and watching, perhaps with a drink in hand. 

More boats, more zigzags. These clearly installed to keep the riffraff out of a dock, without wrecking the view too, too much. 

Does the line of trees over there count as a fine-toothed zigzag? Or perhaps it's just an excuse to show a wild sunset picture!

As well as zigzags, I have been thinking of libraries. This one was once again tacked on to another errand. I had some scarves and things to donate to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre and the Carnegie Centre is right there, so I looked in. 

The area is terribly rundown; there are tents all along Hastings Street and of course it is quite stinky. The women's centre was bustling and full of people. They offered me lunch, even though I like to think I don't look destitute... But when I showed them my bag, I was sent in the right direction and I gave it to someone who thanked me. It made me think I should knit plain, warm caps and mitts for next winter, though I bet someone will be happy with my extra shawls and scarves. 

A block up the street is the Carnegie Centre, the old main library of the city. If you click that link up above, you will get the history of the place. It was closed for a while and then reopened as a community centre, with a small branch of the library. There were security guards on the main doors, and on the main floor and in the library were a few tables with people who were likely homeless reading the paper or a magazine. I didn't linger or take pictures of the library, but one can see that the building was once rather magnificent. 

Up this curved staircase is a window with Milton, Shakespeare and Spenser in stained glass. 


John Milton!

I am sure the library staff would have helped me if I'd had a question about the special collections, but I felt like a fish out of water in that company and wanted to flee back to the land of people who have access to running water on a regular basis. The problems of homelessness and poverty and addiction and public policy and all that are just overwhelming, and I'm afraid a bunch of knitted hats might not solve them all. 

As I waited for a bus a block from the library, there were no tents on that street. We were no longer in the Downtown Eastside, but in Chinatown. Restaurants and shops were open, though you could see they could lock up behind gates at night. I don't think this new city government will be great on this issue, but they are going to try to revitalize Chinatown (again). 

Back to my privileged life of looking at trees in the park. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Is a bunch of triangles a zigzag?

I'm going to call the edges of these buildings "zigzags." 

This is perhaps more of a sawtooth edge, but one could easily draw a zigzag along that edge. 

And that's all for today. I did make another trek to a library, so I'll write that up shortly. I've even done some cooking, and some knitting. Oh, my. I'll get right on all that!