Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Lovin'

After living on the Wet Coast for years, and right in the back yard of the Pacific National Exhibition, no less, I finally decided that this was the year to brave the crowds and go to the PNE for the first time. There was something of an incentive: the fact that your <$20 gate admission includes the Summer Concert Series, and last night's offering was too fun to pass up - Joan Jett. For that, I was prepared to shelve my dislike of crowds and spend the evening eating mini-donuts. (I know, I know - quite the sacrifice!)

Some highlights of the occasionally-surreal experience...

Giant balloons...but of what? Depth charges from the Willy Wonka universe? Space cacti?

A sand sculpture at the entrance, very cool:

Farm animals! Including wascally wabits. (Mr.Q: "Look, a pile of cute!" Me: "Look! Stew!")

Very teeny and Very Large pigs. (Mr.Q: "Wook at the widdle piglets!" Me: "Mmm! Bacon makes everything better!")

Sheeps! (Mr.Q: "Sheepies!" Me: "Kebabs! And sweaters!)

(Sensing the theme here yet?)

And these oxen...I wish the photo gave any kind of real sense of their size. They were HUGE. At least 7 feet at the shoulder. There was no joking about steak, I was too unnerved. Though they were about as threatening as a sleeping cat.

Some funky art stuff:

The stage:

Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you really, really, really happy to see me?

And then after the concert (which rocked! So. Much. Fun! And I even got to stump Mr.Q with some rock trivia, something which has happened all of...well, twice ever.) We got some cotton candy & were heading toward the exit when I came across this:

The folks playing were just a couple turns into the game, and kindly invited me to join in. I think they were sorry after, though. Ahem.

And last, just before the exit:

Is it just me, or is he a leetle creepy? I was half-expecting the Ghostbusters to come running around the corner any minute...

So that was our summer fair adventure, in a nutshell. We may go back next week to see Cyndi Lauper...I'm gonna have to dig out some leg warmers if this keeps up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I forgot to remember

So when I left you all last time, I had all kinds of good intentions of cooking up tasty meals to pair with my tasty new wines, and then taking pics and posting them with all the details of their nomminess...

Yeah. That lasted for exactly one meal. A very yummy chicken-and-veg teriyaki, served with a very lovely apple wine, for our anniversary on the Tuesday after the long weekend. See?

Notice the steam still rising off the veggies...A precursor to the subsequent lack of posting. And picture-taking. I woke up the next day and thought I had burned the back of my tongue and throat quite badly - teriyaki sauce can get pretty darned hot, after all, and keep the heat for awhile. Never mind that I didn't remember burning myself at all; it hurt! So I ate cold, soft stuff for a day or two. I tried to ignore the blisters, writing off the extreme sleepiness as the result of going back to work after a long holiday.

That lasted about a day and a half, when I somehow had the sense to drag myself to the doctor. Burned throat? Nope. Strep throat? Yep! Not exactly how I would have chosen to score another long weekend! Bah. (On the plus side: I went to a new clinic near work, and the doctor was not only nice, and patient - he was also!)

On the other plus side, it just so happens that one can get a lot of knitting done when still too sick (and contagious!) to go to work, but not quite so ill that one needs to sleep 20 hours a day. (Just 14-16!) I'm making good progress on my Rhinebeck sweater. It turns out that chunky yarn knits up a lot faster than the light worsted I used in Dad's & Mr.Q's sweaters! (Whodathunk, eh?)

I'm not getting cocky about the pace & progress, though, as I'm about to start on the charted panel, and that makes me a bit nervous. In the meantime, see the pretty colour?

I thought I ought to have a little "brain candy" on the needles as well, for bus knitting, since the chart for Red Oak is going to be At Home Alone In Silence With The Phone Off knitting. I sort of happened to pick up some lovely skeins of Mochi Plus the other day (oops!), and am working on a variation of the Noro Striped Scarf that coincidentally has some purple in it that matches my sweater-in-progress perfectly. It's quite addictive, watching how the stripes play out against each other!

Meanwhile, it's hotter than the seventh level of hell outside, and I'm in the basement knitting with wool. Coz I'm just that special! Hope you're not all melting. Root beer floats for supper tonight, I think!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The next adventure begins...

As mentioned, we tried one of the Rieslings with last night's dinner - lemon-sautéed zucchini, tossed over pasta with fresh-grated Parmesan. It's a lovely dish, light & tasty & quick, and it's become one of Mr.Q's specialties. He doesn't cook much, but I have to admit he does a smashing job with this particular dish!

The wine was also quite nice, but the with the lemon & cheese, the zucchini was just a little too sharp to work well with the vino. So, with a bit of the bottle left, I tried something else for dinner tonight:

I baked a salmon fillet with some mango sauce we picked up in Keremeos; the green beans and the peaches in the salsa are from the same farm stand. I cooked up some brown basmati in coconut milk, with a couple cinnamon sticks tossed in the pan. (The rice needed a little more jazzing up for next time...maybe a pinch of garam masala &/or some dried apricots as the meantime, I just added a bit more of the mango sauce & that did the trick!) A much better fit with the wine! And I have another adventure planned for tomorrow.

This may, perhaps, become a bit more of a foodie blog over the next while. Please bear with me! But I do promise knitting content as well. I've actually got a good chunk of the back of my Red Oak done - about 1/2 way to the arm-hole shaping. For me, that's a pretty decent pace!

Now to try & gear up for work again - always a bit of a foggy brain after a holiday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Life is too short to drink bad wine" - Anon.

Back from was a grand time! Usually when we go home for a visit, we high-tail it there & back, as it's a 10-12 hour drive. And every time we do, we pass through towns and places that we always think would be fun to explore. So, this time - we did! We took 4 days to make the trip back, and it was fabulous. Also, we got to check out a handful of the fantastic wineries en route. Starting with this one - Skimmerhorn in Creston...picked up a couple of very tasty bottles to start the proceedings:

Then we spent a night in Nelson with my brother & his girlfriend, where we had some excellent Indian food, and got to connect with an old music-school friend of Mr.Q's. We had a lovely visit, and briefly considered camping on the beach...Fortunately, we decided not to, as a Rather Big Storm kicked up that night. We hit the road at the crack of noon, and got as far as Greenwood - a wee little town (Canada's Smallest City, in fact!) that has always intrigued Mr.Q. Upon hearing that there was outdoor live music at a venue with great BBQ burgers (and being unable to find a campsite!) we decided to get a hotel and spend the night. It was, as you can see, the height of contemporary interior design:

Before hitting the road the next morning, we stopped at one of the best cafes ever:

Where breakfast was literally just out of the oven:

It was actually as good as my mother's - and I don't say that lightly!

So fortified, we got another 2 hours down the road to Osoyoos, where we planned a stop at a winery I've wanted to check out for several years.

The city, from the Anti-Christ hill (OK, yes, technically it's the Anarchist, but the other name more accurately describes how I feel about going down that Very Steep Hill!)

And, our destination: Nk'Mip Cellars...

The vineyard:

In front of the wine shop (where of course we bought more wine!):

The cool bi-lingual signs around the grounds:

At the entrance to the Cultural Centre parking lot:

There's a lot to explore, and we didn't have a lot of time - but hopefully next summer we'll make it back for a few days. There's a campground right on the lake, and events at the Cultural Centre, tours of the winery, and if I'm not mistaken, guided walks around the desert as well as trail riding. I could easily spend 2 or 3 days without even leaving the resort/vineyard property!

We made one other stop in Osoyoos for wine:

And that's about where the picture-taking stopped. We got distracted by the lake (it was about 30 degrees by 10:00 a.m.!) and decided to see about another hotel. Then we took our pool noodles down to the water, where we spent much of the afternoon watching the para-sailers over the lake, and debating whether we had the money (& the nerve!) to try it. (We decided we'd give it a go if we make it back next year.)

Coincidentally, Little Sis & her wee fambly were also in Osoyoos for the night, on the spur of the moment, so we met them at another beach & played in the water with her laddy. Then we spent the evening reading in our air-conditioned hotel room (it got up to 37 by mid-afternoon...oy!); though we did go for a walk at about 11:00 to watch the heat lightning over the hills.

Next morning, we hit two more wineries around Keremeos - about 30 minutes from Osoyoos -most notably, Forbidden Fruit Wines, where I almost had a publicly-inappropriate response upon tasting their "Caught Apricot Mistal". I swear to Bob, it tastes like sunshine! We also stopped at Orofino Vineyards, where they were not quite as warm and friendly as at Forbidden Fruit, but we did pick up some very nice Riesling.

A couple of fruit stands (fresh-picked freestone peaches!) and garage sales later, we finally headed back to the Big City - having taken 3 days to achieve about 6 hours worth of driving. Delightful!

Now that we're home again...It's good to see the cats; I haven't missed the traffic!; we need another wine rack; and I've cast on for what will hopefully work out to be my Rhinebeck sweater. And our grocery-shop this morning was based mainly around what would work well with some of the wines we brought home...I 'spect the Blog will feature a bit of those experiments over the next while! (Tonight: pasta tossed with fresh-grated parmesan, and slices of baby zucchini, sautéed in lemon juice, with some of the Riesling mentioned above; fresh peaches for dessert!)