Wednesday, January 30, 2008

San Juan

A bit of photojournalism.
DSC04103.JPG We got there too late to see the house - & almost too late to walk around the garden, as in the guard was locking the gate as we were entering. There are several gates, the lock all but one 1 hour before closing. Luckily Mr. Calico Cat found the one that remained open so that we would be able to exit.
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DSC04081.JPG The bottle in the corner had a hole cut in the side & had some cat food - there was a water bowl too. :o) The gate however, was locked. All of the cats that we saw in the garden were altered. You could tell by the clipped ear.

Then we went to the fort:
DSC04120.JPG We were too late to tour the fort, but we could walk around...
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And a bit of old San Juan:
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DSC04058.JPG Blue bricks - slick as all get out!
DSC04052.JPG (This place has been on FoodTV a couple times for coffee & a pastery called Majorca. We missed our opportunity - we were being shown around by a couple of old ladies - when we returned it was too busy...)
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DSC04047.JPG I like how the disdressed bits show some of the old facade.
DSC04050.JPG Dominoes is quite the past time in Puerto Rico.
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DSC04140.JPG There was a carnival/festival of some sort going on... (It happens the 3rd week of January every year & has something to do with Christmas.) There were dragons in this bunch... My camera was not clicking as fast as I would have liked...
DSC04141.JPG The noise was unbelieveable. Apparently Ricky Martin gave a free concert later in the evening... (We found that out later from our guide in the rain forest. I should have asked him more about the festival.)
While finding a place to eat dinner we passed by another group that were getting ready to parade through the streets with FIRE! (The had not lit the batons yet.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

wishing...

I wish for so many things, but rarely act on them... Case in point (off the top of my head and fairly recent) I wanted to try out Pilates & Yoga while on my 7 day cruise... (7 chances for each) The only day that I was even partially serious about doing it, I was too late for the sign ups... No real good excuses about the other days - except that I was on vacation - but then again when you look at my activity level - I am on the same vacation DAILY!
I also wish that I down loaded my cruise photos yesterday to flickr... (I only have Puerto Rico photos in my flickr.)
I also wish that I at least pretended yesterday that I had to go to work today. (Where oh where are those things that I usually have in my wallet that I took out for the vacation?)

I got this award while I was away - so nice... Thanks Sophie.

What is up next? Well besides my birthday on Wednesday? & my anniversary next month? I have a hotel & car rental for the Mid-Atlantic quilt show next month!
I get to have "really good" sushi for my birthday - YUM!
I rescued the cats yesterday & then went to the grocery store... I got a roast & a rotissery chicken - I knew that I would not be in the mood to cook... I should have dropped the roast into the crock post this morning... Stew sure sounds good right about now. (What should I do with left over rotissery chicken?)
I am a horrible bad quilter - haven't been in the "mood" for weeks - closer to months. My poor little doll quilts are still waiting on binding... I had hoped to get the winter one out before going to Israel, but the organizer did not want it to go out so early, so I set it aside... Now I will be sewing like a mad woman tonight so that I can get it mailed on Wednesday - just barely making the deadline.
I have to admit that Deb will tell a better story... (So for "other" details from the cruise head over to her corner of the blogosphere.) Her "gettting there story" is so much better from the get go!
View 1 from the hotel of the lagoon
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View 2 from the hotel of the ocean
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Unlike Deb we got to Puerto Rico without incident & were the first ones to check in that day, so we got an "upgrade" to a room with a sunroom on the top floor. View 1 is from the corner of the sunroom, while view 2 is the view from the window over our bed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

As the vacation winds down...


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Originally uploaded by aviva_hadas

Since our flight home is at 7p.m. to night from San Juan, we took a tour this morning to the El Yunque rain forest. Luckily, the airport has free WIFI, so I was able to upload them and send off this quick post. More to come... (My husband is itching to get his turn at the computer.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

San Juan


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Originally uploaded by aviva_hadas

Hola from San Juan. While it may be warm... It is rainy. But very pretty.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's official

Not that I haven't mentioned it a time or two before, but I prefer quilts without sashing...

Case in point: Bonnies mystery quilt!

I did not join in - I am definately not a mystery girl. I like to know what I am getting into. For example, on Bonnies quilt, do you see the white (light shirting) squares. Fussy cut cats would look good in those spots, but without knowing about those spots from the begining, I would never cut the cat fabrics for that eventuality. But now that the mystery is revealed, if I were so inclined, I could plan to make my quilt to end up with fussy cut cats in those squares.

Congrats to all who did make the quilt! I is a fun one with all of those bits of fabric.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You can blame

Susan (really she posted a lovely poem about winter and fantasizing - my trip sums it up... almost to a tee.)

The weather on our cruise next week!

San Juan, Puerto Rico
High: 82° Low: 73°
Willemstad, Curacao
High: 85°F Low: 76°F
Oranjestad, Aruba
High: 85°F Low: 77°F
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
High: 83°F Low: 73°F
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
High: 82°F Low: 74°F
(with scattered showers in each location for the week that we will be visiting... Can't be all wine & roses, huh?)

The weather here - no wintery mix, but still...
Washington DC
High: 38°F Low: 36°F

I hope that you get the weather you need & want. (I want snow, but only when I can benefit by having a snow day! & I hear that it is good for the water table...)

Monday, January 14, 2008

An award - for me?


Thanks Ruth. If you don't visit Ruth (& Baby A & Fat boy) regularly you should... I am not a knitter, but Ruth insires me. & on way more than one occasion she has said the right thing or asked the right question.
I would dutifully pass this on, but so many of my regular reads already have this award...
BTW according to my husband (the mail guy) it costs more to send a post card from Israel that it does to send one to Israel - for what it is worth... (I thought all of my post cards were still in the box at the hotel - I send cards to RB & Rhapsody & they only arrived several days ago.)

Using your stash/finishing what you have

To begin, I have not been sewing (cutting, pulling fabrics, etc.) seriously since before our trip to Israel. But I did quilt 2 doll quilts that I want to mail this week. (I just need to bind them.) I guess you can say that I am in a slump... Heres hoping that I snap out of it soon! I am bringing my long term cat applique project & my button hole applique project. Maybe I can sit on the Ledo Deck and stitch away... (I only know the Ledo Deck from The Love Boat - if there really is one I'll be gobsmacked!) After exercizing! I got some great advice on packing/laundry service, THANKS!

I am caught up on my round robin project - everything so far on that has been from stash!

So while I wish I could be extolling my use of "X" Yards/meters of fabric, I can not - But I also do not have to fess up on how much I purchased yesterday - when I strolled around "Just Loooking" and retrieving my challenge quilt!

Meanwhile, two of my long simmering quilt tops were fairly recently finished! :o)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

shopping/packing for the cruise - advice needed!

Anyone have any real ideas on how much to pack for a 7 day southern caribbean cruise?

I am trying hard not to be an over packer... But I want to exercise every day & have something else to wear during the day. I know one night is fancy dress, but should I dress something somewhat fancy (not a jeans equivalent) the other nights? 

Another area where I am concerned is that we are leaving in the winter... (well it should be winter here in the DC area.) I think it will be warmer in the caribbean - but my brain wants to pack sweats... Especially for the exercising.

We went to the big box store zone (WM, K, T) this afternoon to look for some stuff for Mr. Calico Cat. We got some nice stuff CHEAPLY at K. :0)

I usually do not have questions about what to pack & how much, but for this cruise, I am questioning ALL of that! It is only 7 days, but my brain is ready to pack for 14! I know after exercising that I will want to change EVERYTHING - so that doubles a lot of clothing items. Also I will not want to hang out in the clothes that I exercised in... Will I want to wear my exercise clothes twice? Anything else? (I know there are laundry services on the ship - should I plan to use it? Anyone know how expensive that service is?)

FOOD - Vegan spice cake

First, the pot roast turned out wonderfully! (In my big crock pot, I would add another can of tomatoes though.) The rosemary was a delightful flavor! (I should have added the whole bunch!)

Second, I am making a very nice (fun) spice cake that you could serve to any vegan friends on your guest list. It is also known as an eggless, milkless, butterless cake. Science is at work with this cake!

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1-1/4 cup water
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves 
(I use 1-1/2 teaspoons each of apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice instead of the three above)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons water

Boil sugar, water, shortening, & spices for five minutes. Cool slightly add in raisins then stir in flour, salt, & baking powder. Dissolve soda in 2 teaspoons of water and add last to the batter. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and pour in cake. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Friday, January 11, 2008

If you work out of the house....

How do you get dinner on the table? (I mean everyone out there takes a nap with their kitties when they get home, right? Mr. Calico Cat should be good & jealous now...)

Use Mr. Crock Pot that's how...
I am making a pot roast that I saw on Tee Vee. My only problem (well I have many & this will actually be the first one in this post...) is that I have 3 PBS stations... They all show this show - several times a week. So they are mixing and matching the seasons willy nilly - so it is hard to find the printable recipe for the food that you want...
Problem 2 - no "search" function...
Problem 3, I found the location for the Sesame noodles recipe in the first season - not what I am making for dinner, but a recipe that I would like to try nonetheless, but it is not highlighted - therefore, there is no printable recipe... I need to wait & hope to get to see that episode if and when it is rotation again (& I am there to watch with a pen & paper).
Problem 4, once upon a time ago, I knew where a pen (with lid if applicable) and paper were located... I live with someone who thinks nothing of taking one or both of those items & does not put them back...
(But that has little to do with having dinner ready now does it)

Back to dinner
Here is the recipe, it was tucked neatly into last years episodes... I am 99% sure that mine will work out fine... I had more beef than the recipe calls for... & my crock pot is bigger, so it did not look the same when I added the canned tomatoes so I added some water to the can - swished it around and added that to the crock pot too. Luckily my crock pot has a timer, so it will not over cook. Also I am lucky in that my crock pot has a warm setting, so when I get home, I can stir it up a bit, turn it onto warm & have it ready for when Mr. Calico Cat gets home. (I added carrots to the recipe too - to me a pot roast needs carrots. Oh & you are welcome Mr. Calico Cat, I did not add celery.)

Oh for those of you out there who plan the week ahead & or freeze some for later... We will be eating this as leftovers until they are gone. Last weeks turkey pot pie lasted quite a while...

I'll let ya'll know how it turns out!

blooming 9-patch quilt fabrics


blooming 9-patch quilt fabrics
Originally uploaded by aviva_hadas

Some people asked, so here are the fabrics in my blooming 9-patch minus the pink hand dyed fabric... I kind of chose them because of the inspiration print - hence the polka dot with greeen & the pinks, but I can admit that I also forced a few - the first two on the right...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Since this is a quilty blog...

I have a new quilt top to unveil!
First, this is the "inspiration" fabric. (The one that I chose all of the other fabrics to go with.)
Quilt Fabric (Please notice the pink & light spots.)
Here is the resulting quilt top:
blooming 9-patch quilt The inspiration is the final round & will be the binding.
Here is a close up of the inspiration in the quilt top:
up-close quilt
Couple of things about this quilt pattern, in the book, the authors give you the amounts that you need for each round. You all knwo that you need less for the first several rounds than you do for the last rounds right? Well don't buy you fabric that way... If you buy the amount that you need for the last round, you can shuffle them around & try to get a pleasing arrangement.

Another thing, this pattern will always suprise you with how it turns out. I had no idea that that hand dyed pink was going to stand out sooooooo much. Nor did I know that the light blue next to it would look so gray or that the center would look so white in comparison... I really like th elast 3 rounds...

I also think that I could have played & played & played with the arrangement of the other for ever & still questioned the results. & For the record, I DID just that. This UFO was at least 4 years old...

Has anyone else done this quilt? Care to show & share about it on your blog?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

On cruising...

I could probably have taken this very photograph... But my batteries are dead - & my last "spares" made it into the remote control... (The rechargeables - I think are in the stewdio - uncharged!) & I could have taken that photo because I will be on the same exact cruise!

Dead batteries mean no new quilt top photograph either... it is a blooming 9-patch.

Back on cruising. Apparently, the first week in January is not the week to buy a bathing costume... I did find something acceptable, but I almost pulled out all of my hair trying! I went to the MAUL (so much nicer in there after December, but still...) & looked in the department stores & even looked at the directory - hoping to find a specialized store... Athletic stores in the MAUL only sell tennis shoes! I found my ensemble(s) - I was told to bring 2, so that one is always dry - and JCP. It was much harder to find something for Mr. Calico Cat, but I persevered & managed to find something that I hope fits... I found it at a sporty store outside of the MAUL. I also got some other sporty clothes, because I have promised myself to do something "very" active EVERYDAY on the cruise. This is my chance to try Yoga, Pilates & rock climbing, in addition to walking & stair climbing.

FYI I hope to buy batteries this afternoon - after I get gas!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Kibbutz Ramat Rahel (Where we stayed.)

View from Ramat Rahel Jerusalem Israel View from our balcony.
On the grounds are many old farm relics from when the kibbutz was more agrairan. (It is now mainly a hotel/cafeteria/wedding site - I think.) It is especially a cafeteria on Shabbat, restaurants are not generally open, because all food stuffs must be prepared before sundown on Friday & kept warm by a flame that is lit before sundown. Since the cafeteria is part of a hotel, they have food prepared for their guests already. Another tidbit is that you can not "pay" for the meal on Shabbat, so the people on the busses are given cards to hand in to the cashier (those of us with hotel rooms use our room number). The lines were very long on Saturday afternoon for lunch & It was somewhat obvious that one group was Spanish, while the next was Vegeterian with an English accent. (I had to explain that since the hot meal being offered had meat that there was no butter in the vegetables that he was choosing.)
Ramat Rahel Jerusalem Israel
Plow at Ramat Rahel in Jerusalem Israel
In 1948 & 1949, it was the southern most Israeli defense point during the war of Independence & there are still trenches and outposts from that time period on the grounds.
Out post and trenches from the War of Independence (1948-9) at Ramat Rahel in Jerusalem Israel
Outpost and trenches from the war of Independence (1948-9) Ramat Rahel Jerusalem Israel
There is also an archaeological dig site:
Digs at Ramat Rahel Jerusalem Israel
digs at Ramat Rahel Jerusalem Israel
Psalm This Psalm was near the road shown above, you could see "something" from the barrier, but I could not make out what it was. Yes, I climbed over the barrier to get this photo. I still wonder about its placement... Also this Hebrew is quite odd in that is shows the vowels (the dots below & with in the letters)... You may have noticed a lack of vowels on the other signs. Like the one at the top of this post (with the farm equipment - BTW the only line I know is the middle one - it says "Ramat Rahel").
Also on the Kibbutz are two memorials:
Spiral View Point in Memory of Yair Engel, many plaques around the edge pointed out locations &/or stated things that happened near this location.
Spiral View Point in Memory of Yair Engel, many plaques around the edge pointed out locations &/or stated things that happened near this location.
A couple of the other plaques around the center:
Spiral View Point in Memory of Yair Engel, many plaques around the edge pointed out locations &/or stated things that happened near this location.
Spiral View Point in Memory of Yair Engel, many plaques around the edge pointed out locations &/or stated things that happened near this location.
Spiral View Point in Memory of Yair Engel, many plaques around the edge pointed out locations &/or stated things that happened near this location.
The other memorial:
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Olive Columns at Ramat Rahel in Jerusalem Israel