Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sick/stuck.

So due to a series of unfortunate events, I am stuck home invalid for a bit. I am trying to spend my time somewhat reasonably, so I have been watching BBC documentaries on Netflix. So far it has been Richard III and now the holy Grail. I also am working on a book on Basque history by Mark Kurlansky. I have enjoyed some of his earlier histories but this one so far is a bit list-y. Basque history is generally interesting but it is suffering a bit from the presentation.

I am also having excessive time to look at where to go for our next vacation! I get a long weekend for Memorial Day next month and we are going to go down the coast to the San Luis Obispo area. I am really excited to take Matt to Hearst Castle, he has taken me to enough castles and cathedrals I figure I owe him one, and I think he will really enjoy it. Hearst Castle is amazing, and I haven't been in 10+ years. Blogger won't let me put in a picture, but the website has some great shots.

William Randolph Hearst was building with his daddy's money from massively profitable gold and silver mines, and his own from the early newspaper industry. He spent like it was going out of style, importing church pews, tapestries and parts of buildings from all over Europe (authentic or otherwise). He consorted with the rich and famous and was known for his amazing parties. The movie Citizen Kane is famously based on Hearst, but a smaller movie called the Cat's Meow was also based on some unusual incidents in his life and is a fun film. It also features the late Edward Herriman as Hearst, and that will always be my mental image of Hearst now.

Hope everyone is well and doing many fun things this spring! I will try to update more reasonably and have some patience with Blogger as best I can. Emma, I very much hope you and Andreas are doing well and the adoption process is going smoothly for you!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Excuses

So for some reason the Blogger interface is just awful now, on my laptop or mobile devices both. Anyone still reading this and happy with another platform? Should I be switching to Wordpress? The post formatting is always crazy now when I put in photos and I can never get youtube to embed any more. Half the time I can't even scroll to the bottom of a post when I've written it. I am thinking Wordpress is the next frontier. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Project Update


So this was a sad corner of my kitchen. The original thought was that it faced the dining room so something in the credenza or buffet family should live there, so it never got cabinets to match the rest of the kitchen. Thus, when we moved in, this was what the budget provided.

It was very functional, and EVERYTHING got shoved over there. Mess central. I also inherited my great-aunt's china (beautiful but most of a set so lots of space required). So I did a deal with the landlord.

The place that sold the kitchen cabinets sells them as single units, and these just fit.

They also sell precut slab granite for cheap. Unfortunately, no handles, those were the worst part. We bought the cabinets individually already assembled, then all we had to do was screw the three units together and glue the slab on top (it is definitely not going anywhere now). And put on ALL THE HANDLES. Seriously, the biggest investment of time and effort for this whole shebang, other than the three trips to pick up the separate pieces, was those handles.

But I Looooove it. This is the legitimate, not-styled action shot. We will put away the cereal when we have dinner parties, I promise. But we still get the buffet effect, with a massive increase in storage. All my kitchen linens, stand mixer, all that china, and I still have room! The small radio may not stay forever but I think the wine looks fancy there. And I promised Matt not to cover it completely with plants. And I do have a paper towel holder that I am going to attempt to hang, so that won't live there either (eventually).

So this is what my last two weekends have been spent on while Matt was sick or working. Enthralling, I know. But it has been a huge improvement in my life. That is also why you didn't get a before picture, we are not memorializing the epic amounts of stuff that used to get piled here. The only catch is to not pile all the things here now. It is great for unloading groceries though. Unexpected bonus! 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Musical Interlude

Last night was date night. It was really nice. Santa Cruz on a Saturday night is loud and busy and crowded, but on a Sunday it is much more reasonable. We hit my favorite restaurant, a place just called Red Restaurant and Lounge, first. They always have interesting things on the menu and now I have determined that I am ok with brussels sprouts as long as they are in roasted/chip form. Texture is apparently crucial, who knew? They were nutty and crispy and I may actually purchase some brussels sprouts for the first time in my life to try and replicate them at home.

But enough about cruciferous vegetables, we went to a show! John Pizzarelli is the son of the famous jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and the guy is a party. The vibe is very high-energy Tony Bennett if Tony Bennett were a couple of decades younger and could play a mean guitar.



And next we are going to Paul McCartney! This is a bigger show than I have been to in years and I am excited and slightly alarmed. With age, my tolerance for crowds decreases dramatically. And I am ooold now. But thankfully so is Sir Paul. And the rest of his audience. So we will see how that goes.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Camper

I just got back from an amazing week at the brass chamber music workshop at Humboldt State in Arcata. Normally one of the bonuses is the cool and fog, but this year we got some sun. So on the short day (chops need recovery time!) we drove up to the little town of Trinidad for overpriced seafood and some sand between our toes. 
Not TOO much sun though. 
This is looking south. Trinidad is still a big fishing community and there were plenty of boats out, but all to the west of us. That trail goes all the way down to the beach, and it's a good workout coming back up! There were lots of stops to "admire the view" and catch our breath. 
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Can't vouch for much of town because we didn't spend much time there but I do love a nice beach. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Unexpected Subtraction

I have been at what is basically my first desk job for almost two years now. I still go out and do field calls and take plant and soil samples for the lab to analyze, but the preponderance of my time is now spent at a desk either writing up reports or on the phone with people talking about their plants. So, significantly less active than any other job in recent memory. And it is hard to leave work and motivate to get my butt to the gym. So my mom talked me into being her Weight Watchers buddy.

There are pros and cons to living ten minutes from your parents once they've both retired. The pros you saw in the last post - a landlord who is willing to invest in improving stuff around here. The cons are your landlord needing to have a serious sit-down with you about your weight. Not interested. But he offered to fund my WW membership if I go with Mom. So I was resentful, to say the least, but I love my mom, so I went. And now I'm kind of resentful that it seems to be working.

I didn't have an issue with my weight, but I feel better than I did, and I always like an excuse to buy new clothes. And I have a couple of weddings to go to this summer and I have been enjoying some new-to-me fashion blogs, so I think there is some nice cocktail dress and sundress shopping in my future. So I guess it's a begrudging endorsement. The WW tracking app is well-designed and they make it comparatively easy, at least at the beginning. Apparently some of the meetings they spend quite a bit of time pushing their products but none of the ones I've attended have been that way. We sit around and strategize about how to eat more healthily and it seems like a relatively reasonable system overall. Truthfully, I'd probably be way less into it if the app wasn't so helpful and easy to use.

Anyway, new favorite fashion blogs! These ladies seem to be back east somewhere and are slightly dressier than I am (still working with dirt, even thought it's a desk job) for work, but I adore their style of writing. Also periodic posts of hot guys and great sale tips!

http://www.looksgoodfromtheback.com

This lady is somewhere in Canadia, eh? and has super-accessible style. She is basically what I would like to look like at work. Also she has hair like Christina Hendricks (JEALOUS) and posts intermittent book roundups where I keep finding interesting-sounding books to add to my reading list.

http://bluecollarredlipstick.com

Anybody discovering exciting new fashion blogs I should know about? I am over the fancy, high-fashion stuff, not that I was ever really into it, but lately I love a good everyday outfit blog.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Unplanned Hiatus

Things have been quiet around here, my apologies for the lack of updates. It's different living in somebody else's house, a. you can't just run around doing whatever projects you want and b. it's harder to justify spending money on things that won't come with us when we leave. 

That said, I can't stop working in the yard, that would just be crazy. The summer we moved in we poured a little front porch. And never used it. So this winter we talked the landlord (my dad) into having a little arbor built over it.
                                     
Not too imposing after everything froze in our crazy cold winter, I know. We normally don't get lows in the 20's for a week straight, so I was mainly concerned with keeping the citrus trees alive. But everything recovered and I also finally admitted to myself that the backyard will never get enough sun for my vegetables...
                                                   
So we got a little veggie bed action going too. You can also see the new little fence that my dad and I put in, it made life a little less miserable while the neighbors were gutting their house and construction debris was everywhere. It's not too imposing yet, this was my first shot at bush beans on the right and so far I think pole beans are a way better use of space. These just aren't very productive. And unfortunately, I planted two varieties and one is way tastier that the other, but I don't know which one was which. Sad trombone.
                             
So the upshot is, much more time being spent on the porch now. Even Matt will take his coffee out there in the a.m. sometimes now. Everything is growing in nicely and it's secluded from the street now so you can sit there and watch people walk by and nobody even notices we're there. The pile of trees in the street in that picture is another story, we had to spend some cash on tree trimming/removal in the backyard, it was a jungle back there! You can see the remains all piled in the street, and our backyard can see the sun again! Still not enough to grow tomatoes though.

I have ideas for other things to blog about, fingers crossed I can get back on the horse and stay on! Is anybody else still out there?