Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Craft Update -- Oct. 31

I haven't done a Sunday craft update for a while, and I have a backlog of stuff to write about, but this dress is what I'd been working on for the past couple of weeks. Kate got the mask when we were in Venice this past summer, and she wanted a dress to go with it. After checking out a number of ready-made options, none of which matched Kate's exacting specifications, I reluctantly agreed to sew a costume. So, several hours of sewing and many curses later, here it is.

Todd took Kate and several of her friends around the neighbourhood, while Julia handled the candy distribution from our house. One of the families down our street puts up an elaborate haunted house every year, and it seems the entire neighbourhood comes to our street to visit it. We had to shut down by 8:15pm, after 250 kids had come by and we ran of out candy again this year. One of these years, I'll manage to buy enough for the trick-or-treaters and still have a few candy bars left for myself!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oktoberfest Race

Here is a family photo from last weekend's Oktoberfest race. My cousins Rob and Beryl came all the way from Montreal to join us for the race. Their kids stayed home with Kate, while Julia and Todd also did the run with us. We were joined by many more friends, including Mark who was responsible for this photo, and Fei Min, my workout partner of sorts over the past five years.

Rob, Beryl and I did the 10K. This was my first 10K and I was both surprised and thrilled to finish it under an hour (though not by much!), along with Beryl. Rob was recovering from an injury but gamely did the run with us. Todd, Mark and Julia all did the 5K for the first time and had very respectable times, given that they only started training a short time before. Actually, Julia didn't train seriously at all, but I guess being young helps a great deal.

Apart from the race, for which we had perfect weather, we had a terrific weekend with our cousins. Rob and Beryl brought treats (both copious and meaty) from their home-made smoker, along with a lovely selection of beverages from Quebec and Eastern Ontario, and the kids enjoyed spending time together. We'll definitely do another race together next year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

San Francisco

Todd and I went on a brief getaway to San Francisco, while his parents graciously looked after the kids. He had been to California many times before for business, but this was my first time there. On our first day, we walked from our hotel, the historic Sir Francis Drake (complete with Beefeater doorman), all the way to Fisherman's Wharf. At Pier 39, we sat and watched the mostly lazy but occasionally playful sea lions sunbathing.
We passed through San Francisco's large Chinatown on the way back and had dim-sum in a crowded restaurant that held only one obviously non-Asian diner (i.e., Todd). We also visited the famous City Lights bookstore, which played a significant role in the growth of the Beat movement. (More about my visit is here.) Coming from relatively flat Southern Ontario, it was hard work going up and down those hills, but it gave us a chance to admire San Francisco's architecture.
Our second day included several hours at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where we saw works by Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Rene Magritte, and the New Topographics photography exhibition which showed rather stark images of the American landscape. As is usually the case when I go into a museum of modern art, there were a good number of "Wow!" moments interspersed with as many "Huh?" moments. (See Robert Rauschenberg's White Painting, for example.)

The food in San Francisco can be summed up in one word: fabulous! This city is a seafood lover's paradise. Todd and I had two terrific seafood meals at the Eagle Cafe and the Fog Harbor restaurants at Pier 39. The meals included a good deal of oysters and this magnificent Dungeness crab, cooked Asian style. My only disappointment was that they cleaned out the eggs and internal organs before serving the crab to us. Clearly, the restaurant doesn't cater to the Chinese crowd! In addition to the great seafood, we also enjoyed excellent beer, sangria and tapas at The Thirsty Bear.

I loved San Francisco and look forward to going back. Next time, we'll bring the kids with us. I'm certain they'll enjoy this wonderful city as much as Todd and I did!