Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Knits roundup

This new year has already sparked my knitting flow and I'm stepping outside my comfort areas. Personally, I never thought I would knit blankets. Just too big and I know myself in that I would most likely get bored and never pick it up again.

That's what I thought. A few years ago, I knit a baby blanket. It was made up of individual apple core shapes that I knit using my leftover sock yarn. I enjoyed it. I did find myself getting a little bored with it so that's why I ended up with a baby sized blanket. I still have a few of those apple cores waiting for me to start again.

I saw another blanket that is made of mitered squares. Very pretty but again, I know myself and that won't happen. I do love browsing patterns and I came across Garter Squish blanket. Hmmm, I love garter stitch which is knitting both sides so it's very easy and mindless. This pattern uses 2 strands of worsted weight held together = bulky weight yarn. Well, that's just too warm for SoCal plus I don't have that much worsted weight yarn to make a blanket of use to me. I did notice that several knitters used fingering weight yarn you're speaking my language!

So this is one of my long term projects for 2016. It helps that it's quite cold this winter.
I estimate that I'm about a 1/3- 1/2 done with it depending on how long I want this to be. It'll be used as a long lap blanket. For me.

I knit a few hats...

A photo posted by Debbie T (@moodybq) on

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A photo posted by Debbie T (@moodybq) on

A photo posted by Debbie T (@moodybq) on

A photo posted by Debbie T (@moodybq) on

A photo posted by Debbie T (@moodybq) on

Friday, January 29, 2016

Upside Down

Upside down.

I've been on Flickr for almost 8 years (?) and this is by far is my most viewed photo. I took this in Sept 2011 and it always makes me happy. 

I only have one fave on this photo but thousands of views, actually 2,626 views. Probably just click through type views but still I'm proud of this photo and this kid.

There is a storm coming her to LA this weekend so I hear the waves will be really huge.  IMG_6471.jpg

Phil says, "Have a great weekend!!"

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Our outing to Hiroshima was very cool and educational. The one thing we learned using our JR passes is that one should always try to get on the express or shinkansen. The time for the express was still an hour or so and we saw that another train was leaving sooner so we decided to take that one. Big mistake. It seemed to take forever since we had to stop at every station. We didn't save any time and it may have taken us longer.

By the time we arrived in Shin-Osaka, the kids were tired and wanted to go back to our apt in Kyoto. So we let them. They had a cell phone in case they ran into trouble. I'm really proud of them. It is a 15 minute train ride to Kyoto. They then would have to walk to another part of the station to catch the Kyoto subway and change once to a different line and then walk another 1/3 mile to the apt. And they did it. I think they even stopped at McDonalds for dinner along the way.

Hector and I decided to go to Osaka for dinner and sightseeing. I really like Osaka. It has a nice mix of big city energy while not being too large. I like their fun signage and food too.



There is smaller more intimate streets and goes all the way to big hustle and bustle with bigger crowds of people.




So many choices for food and I wanted to try them all but Osaka is know for their
okonomiyaki a savory pancake. At this point I don't seem to have any photos so I'll have to check with Hector if he has some on his camera.

I think we got a smaller version of two, a pork and green onion. We opted to have the kitchen cook ours although the locals will cook their own at the table. It was very tasty and filling.

Now that we've eaten, we can get to exploring. So much to see! I love the canals and bridges.





I got more excited at a French bulldog sighting!!




Looking for a landmark...getting closer.




There he is...Glico man!!


People love to pose the same in front of this billboard. Why? Because they can. 

That's probably the most asked question in Japan. Why, well why not? 

We ended up at Starbucks, a huge 2 storied attached with other stores so I could buy a Starbucks Osaka mug. I have small collection of the places I've been and I'm very selective, I don't want to get over run in mugs. 

This evening flew by and before we knew it, it was 11pm and we needed to catch the train back to Kyoto before we got stranded. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Carnival cruise

I am really really behind but I am making attempts to catch up. 

This is a cruise that the kids and I took in October since our summer was spent taking care of my mother. She had a couple of unexpected stays in the hospital and the rest of the summer was helping her recuperate and caring for her.

I was able to take advantage of the kids student free day in October and booked a 3 day cruise to Ensenada. It worked out very well since it wasn't a busy cruising period. The kids got to relax and explore the ship while learning the joys of eating steak. It was here where the kids could order a steak and try different cuts of meat that normally they wouldn't have tried in a restaurant.

We didn't get off the ship at all during the weekend. I got plenty of sleep. We went to a Hasbro show on the ship where the Hasbro games are played on stage. Tyler was selected to participate which he had lots of fun.





The kids had lots of choices to play mini-golf and even go on some big water slides at the back on the ship.



I could always find nice quiet spaces while most people spent their time by the pool or sunbathing.




It looks like we have the ship to ourselves! The casino was a very popular choice for the adults.





I really want to do an Alaska cruise with the kids next. That will be lots of fun and more time to relax while seeing a new place with glaciers. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hiroshima day trip

Sorry for the brief hiccup in my posting. I started off so well and then life happened. Maybe I'll do another post on it but I'm not sure yet. If you really want to know, you ask H and get the whole story.

Anyway back to another day in Japan. My memory isn't totally clear on all the details but I'll do my best. Once again our JR passes come in handy as we travel to Hiroshima for the day. I think it was about a 2 hour shinkansen ride which is always enjoyable and hassle free. We learned that our passes allow us to use the shuttle in Hiroshima which saved us about $10 each and it was one of those hop on/hop off type buses. I can't say it was actually a bus, sort of a really narrow trolley bus with really high steps on and narrow seats. It was interesting. Here the English speaking people are harder to find but a map and an adventurous spirit comes in useful. The little map seems helpful at first but a lot of walking to find entrances to places adds to the walking total. Luckily the kids are good sports and it turned out to be another sunny/warm day. At least I didn't insist on long pants for the kids this day. :)

Our first stop was Hiroshima castle located in the middle of a river/lake (?) so finding a bridge and touring the grounds always tops the list.




I believe that this was the armory or military quarters.




Luckily we paid attention to the signs which was useful.


Hiroshima castle which is 5 stories. No elevator. No photography I believe since I don't have any photos inside. It was a really cool place. Kids can try on replica samurai armor and lift an actual samurai sword. Hector could have spent 3-4 hours in there but we tend to rush him.

By then, the kids were pretty hungry. We wandered out a different way and found a plaza with street vendors. I ordered a squid on a stick thinking Tyler may try it and I would end up eating it. Nope, he enjoyed it with gusto while Josh enjoyed a more traditional sausage on a stick.



We didn't know where to catch the shuttle or maybe it was on the other side of where we were so we decided to walk to the Peace memorial maybe a mile away.

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There is a lovely riverwalk area where people enjoyed the beautiful day.





On to the next stop...



The back side of this memorial.


In the sunken back portion.





Just a touching memorial and somewhere along the way, the kids and I found another memorial tucked away underground.


It was nice place to cool off as the day was getting hot.


We found the shuttle stop here and rode back to the station while getting a little tour of the city. This post was photo heavy so I'll post the rest of our day trip in another post. Our date night in Osaka!