Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spin Group

It seems so long since my last spin group - which was before Christmas.  I haven't even spun except for that little trial in Sacramento.

I decided to try my almond sponge cake again and this time it turned out much better.  I remembered to take the eggs out and warm them to room temperature and I made sure to figure out which mixing bowls fit with which beaters.  The whites beat for 6 minutes on high.

Here is the recipe that I used:

8 eggs (warm to room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable)
1 cup cake flour, sifted with 1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Separate eggs (I have two mixing bowls for my KitchenAid mixer).  Add sugar and oil to yolks.  Beat yolk mixture for 5 minutes and add water gradually beating at low until all water is added then increasing speed to high for 7 minutes.  Add extract.  Add in flour mixture gradually then mix at medium speed until integrated.

Change bowls with whites and add cream of tartar.  Mix at high speed for 5 to 6 minutes until whites are stiff.

Fold batter into whites and mix well then pour into tube pan.  Bake for 60 minutes.  Cool for 2 hours inverted and remove from pan.

Here is the cake still in the pan.
Here it is after removal from the pan.
We also had tortilla soup, spring rolls, an onion casserole and a salad.
There were different wheels in attendance and here is a photo of the wheels just missing my miniSpinner.
I was able to ply 3 strands of fine singles that I plan to use to make the Featherweight Cardigan.  I had previously purchased 12 ounces of BFL from Miss Babbs on a destash.  It think the colors are well mixed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mentioned on a Podcast

I have been catching up on listening to my podcast subscriptions and I was surprised to hear my name on the Wolfe Farms podcast - episode 19.

At the end of last year, they ran a contest of knitted gifts and I had a bunch that I finished.  All the gifts were appreciated and I'm glad that they are being enjoyed.

Wolfe Farms also has great lotions and soap.  My favorite is pomegranate but there is a new honeysuckle that I might have to try.  Each month, they have a special fragrance that is on sale.  The lotions are thick and creamy but don't leave any residue.  It is great for anything fiber related.  I actually found out about them at Maryland Sheep and Wool the first time I went.  It was a surprise to find out that they are in my backyard!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The last week of my trip was Sacramento, Modesto and Bakersfield.  As I headed south, the warmer it got.

I was able to see my family there and have a dinner gathering at our favorite spot.  New Station has been highlighted in the past, here.

I also hooked up with my friend from the third grade, and we had a sushi lunch at Fuji's which has moved.  
The amount of food is overwhelming.  We got to sit at the bar where they have little boats that move with dishes constantly being replenished.  The wait for space was so long that we sat in the warm car to wait.
After a filling lunch, we headed to Big Lots and the Dollar store to kill some time before heading to see the latest Twilight movie - Breaking Dawn Part 1.  It followed along the book pretty well.

I also was able to meet up with Linda at Babetta's Yarn & Gifts to spin on her Sequoia wheel.  I placed myself on the wait list and wanted to try out spinning on one before I firmly committed.  It is a great wheel and I was impressed.  I'm only number 84 on the list - I should see this wheel sometime in 2014.
I also bought some buttons for my Shalom sweater there as well.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Antics of Bingley and Darcy

During my stay with Jude, she has these fluffy curious cats named Bingley and Darcy.  Even after a week, I still could not tell them apart.  They are very friendly and affectionate and it was a pitch battle of wits to keep them out of my room.
Here is a video that I took of them playing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Stay with Jude

My friend Jude invited me to stay with her during my trip and I was with her for a week.  It was a bummer that we both had to work and could only really play on the weekend.

The first night I was there, I actually went to the wrong house but soon realized that the cats were all wrong.  Once that correction was made and I got into the right place, I slowly settled in.

I went by and got the makings for dinner and had dinner ready by the time she got home.  We had roasted chicken, zucchini, and roasted yams and sweet potatoes.

It was much colder at night and I was bundled between lots of blankets.  It was eventful and enjoyable week.

We ate out at Bowl'd, a local Korean rice bar that was excellent.  I order the bibimbop which was delicious.  I was hard pressed to finish and after quite a long dinner, I proclaimed success.  Jude had the BBQ pork which was overloaded with meat.
We also had a couple of appetizers which pretty much came at the same time as our entrees and we ended up taking stuff home.  The little dishes of samples were also pretty good.
While we were waiting for a table, we stopped by a few local shops on the street.  One was this futon place with awesome fabrics.  I fell in love with the crane motif.  I figured that I could make a comforter from this fabric.
We also met up with Jude's cousin and fiancee for brunch at Gallardos Mexican Food.  They are known for their posole and menudo.  Most of us ate the chorizo and eggs and we sampled a bowl of posole.  The soup was excellent.  The chorizo was different then what I have had in the past and it was not spicy at all.
On the weekend, Jude and I went to ArtFibers, Dharma Trading, Penzey's, and had lunch at Amici's.  I actually ate here twice since it was introduced by a friend at the FBI who use to work at the restaurant chain.

Previously I ordered the Siciliano pizza which comes with no tomato sauce, but I was able to have the pizza half with sauce and half without.  The half without was better.  When I went with Jude, I ordered linguini with clams and she ordered the same pizza with a spinach salad.
It was a great visit, we watched some dyeing and spinning DVDs, watched Hanna and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, warped a loom, carded some fiber, knit, chatted, ate, and shopped.  A very nice time had by all.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meeting the Family for Dinner

I was also able to meet up with my cousins for dinner one night at Shanghai Gourmet.  
We each ordered a dish to share family style and one of the dishes that was interesting was salt and pepper taro root.
It was delicious but probably not so good nutritionally.  Harper really enjoyed the "fries" that she was able to hold in her hand.
Their mom, Nancy, who babysits Harper treated us all to the great dinner and also ordered a "bread" to go.  I got a few pieces for me and Jude to try out since I was all full from the dinner.
It was great seeing them as I don't get up to the Bay Area very often and it has been a while since they have visited me.

On the way back, the moon was full and low in the sky.  The camera just doesn't do it justice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The City by the Bay

My first work day took me into the city by the bay.  It has been quite a long time since I was in the city and I recalled all the times when I was young of driving with my family into the city each weekend.

I was directed to take the BART into the city to save aggravation in driving across the bridge as well as finding parking.  It was a painless process even with the reserved parking at the BART station for $3.00.  The fair was $3.90 each direction and after finishing my work obligation I went to meet up with a friend I haven't seen in a while and did a bit of sightseeing.

Of course, I got on the wrong train at first - I tend to do this due to some strange whim of my brain stating that I must get on the first train and the sense of urgency is undeniable.  I had to hop off at the next stop and patiently wait for the right train.

I got off at close to the courthouse and had to ask directions from some passerbys to walk in the right direction.  Here are some pictures I took on my walk on the cold San Francisco morning.
After successfully completing my assignment, my friend Margaret picked me up and we headed to Little Italy for a bite to eat.  She took me for seafood at Sotto Mare and I had my favorite clam chowder and a crab appetizer.  I think only Boston has better clam chowder.
Next she took me for a drive down Lombard Street which is very twisty.  At the top of the hill I was able to get a picture of Alcatraz.
This is the view from atop the hill.
The houses along Lombard were very fancy and I can't imagine the cost of living there.  The driveways come right out the the curves on the street.
Margaret dropped me off and I walked down the street and she picked me up at the bottom of the hill.
We next hit Telegraph Hill and got some panoramic views of the city.
They had a public bathroom on the Hill and it was very interesting.  It is a self contained kiosk that self cleans itself.  You push the button and the door slides open and you go in with the door sliding close.  After your business, you come out and the door closes again and the unit goes into self-cleaning mode.  When the green light comes back on, it is ready for the next use.  The toilet seat is tiny in comparison and the floors are cleaned after each use.  There is also no charge to use the restroom.
After a bit of shopping in Chinatown - bakery goods and stuff from the dollar store, we also stopped by the fortune cookies factory where I bought two bags of defects.  Then I was back on the BART headed back to the East Bay.
The factory is in a small alleyway and I would not have been able to find it myself.  There was a charge for taking photos in the factory so I didn't get any, but the cookie press was awesomely efficient with a person sitting right in front of it taking warm cookies and folding them with fortunes inside.