Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year!

We went out with Matt's parents on their boat on New Year's Day and it was lovely.
Hazy and not windy enough for a sail but we had a little motor around and I think that peak in the distance is Mt. Tam. Hazy days also make for lovely sunsets so I won't complain (much, although we are overdue for some rain down here).
This weekend we took a drive up the coast to Davenport, which is a tiny town where the Odwalla bottling plant was before they got bought out by Coca-cola. Now all that's really there is some pretty views and a couple of little breakfast joints, hence our trip.
Back home I have been fighting some sort of bug the last few days and being a bum. However, the neighbors are gutting their house and putting a second story on, and today was foundation-pouring day. So not exactly a peaceful day at home with two concrete trucks outside all day. But it may have inspired the landlord (my dad) and I have some project pictures coming up soon!

On the home front, Matt's on a bit of a health food kick so if I find and good recipes with chia seeds I'll definitely post them (ha). That said, nothing will top the post-holiday stuffing waffles. Normally I am not a big Rachael Ray fan but she has a stuffing waffle recipe with cranberry maple syrup - blend up your leftover cranberry sauce 50/50 with maple syrup and whoo baby! It's a ways out, but next Thanksgiving think about those leftovers...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'm not dead yet! I'm feeling better!

Sorry for the radio silence, I need to get back on the blogging horse here! Things have been going fairly well, the job is not exciting but going well, Matt has gotten some contract work so we might get to do some traveling again soon, Thanksgiving was delicious...

Ok, long version. We had Thanksgiving at a friend's and I brought regular and vegan stuffing, and discovered that leftover stuffing is best when stuffed in your waffle iron. Yes, we are now converts to the church of the stuffing waffle. Mix a little maple syrup in your leftover cranberry sauce and you are good to go. We had a second Thanksgiving at home on Saturday with my parents so I could have leftovers, and I actually made gravy correctly for the first time in my life. And an apple tart that was lovely and of course I didn't take a picture.

We also had a fun trip to Austin. We had horrible colds the whole time so we didn't do a lot of partying (and it is a party town). But there was a lot of great shopping and an insane amount of good food. The weather was crazy with flood warnings and thunder and lightning but we still went to an outdoor concert and had lots of fun! I'm glad we checked it out, Matt turned down a mediocre job offer out there a while back and we were wondering. It's a nice place to visit.

The holidays are now in full swing down here, I have a Christmas concert this weekend and it's time to get a tree! I am thinking about putting up lights on the house for the first time this year, we'll see what happens! 

How is everyone out there in blogland? Happy holidays to everybody out there!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ringing Endorsement

So I had been told in the past "oh you should go read Jane Eyre, it's really good". That's it. Not something to get me running to the bookstore. This is stuff that got read in the other English class that I wasn't in while we read Julius Caesar or something. And it never really registered on my radar. So what did it?

Yup. The 2011 version of Jane Eyre is a humdinger. Mia Wasikowska is SO GOOD.

Also, Michael Fassbender does tortured and crazy and handsome quite well.

I had been reading junk like Rebecca and The Scarlet Letter and yes, great writing, blah blah blah. But talk about leading ladies that I cannot sympathize with for the life of me. But Jane actually does something about her situation, which is what drove me nuts about both those books. Jane gets through awful situations or she gets out. She does it all on her own terms, and to be fair, I am not generally pro-religion, but I like what her religion means to her. 

And seriously, come on.

So I read the book, thank you Project Gutenberg. And it is good. The movie definitely abridges some of the more dated bits, but it is still suitably crazy and gothic and visually stunning (and I don't just mean Rochester). And it gets bonus points for great casting of Judi Dench, who is good in pretty much everything but is great in this. So if you haven't read it, I will say it: get out there and read Jane Eyre. And then watch the 2011 movie, because helloooooo Fassbender! I am not normally one for the broody Byronic crazy ones, but I think Rochester is my exception to that rule.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Evidence

Of a productive weekend. With another to come soon, hopefully. The top of my poor desk was looking so sad, I didn't even take a before picture. I scrubbed it down with diluted Murphy's Oil Soap and very fine steel wool. Then I wiped it down, let it dry and did some sanding.

Only the top really needed help, and let me tell you it looks much nicer now. I gave it a couple of coats of Minwax wood finish in dark walnut (it stains AND seals, whoo hoo) and it is pretty snazzy now in comparison. The rest of the piece is in much better shape so I just left it as-is. It's a little redder than the top but when I am sitting at my desk what I see is how nice the top looks now!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Before I Forget


This used to be my lawn. Not missing it so much now. 


Can't wait for my trees to give a little more shade, it's been cooking here the last week!


I do need to catch up on some weeding though.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Literary Interlude (or lack thereof)

I read a couple of interesting books recently so I thought I should put something up here so it looks like I'm still around (not really, I am swamped at work and spending all my spare time in the garden while the weather has been so nice).

Rebecca - yes, I know it's a classic and I needed to get around to it, but it made me think of reading The Scarlet Letter in that unsympathetic, I-can't-always-escape-my-modern-perspective way. As in the "Why the hell didn't she do something to change her situation, what a wimp" perspective. Hugely evocative writing and excellently creepy  to read, Mrs. Danvers is a hell of a character, as is Rebecca herself, but the de Winters (Mr. and the second Mrs.) are just so hard to identify with or sympathize with as a general rule. So, I'm glad I read it and now I think I've filled my Du Maurier quota for a while. But I do wish the movie was in color so I could see the epic descriptions of the house and grounds with all the lush, blooming flowers done justice.

Gone Girl - after all the hype I was curious and the library had it for Kindle (this is fancy, I can check it out from my laptop and then it shows up on my Kindle and disappears again in three weeks. No overdue book fees!), so I gave it a shot. It is definitely well written, characters keep seeming sympathetic and then changing, and the back-and-forth switching perspectives between husband and wife works really well (something that doesn't always work if the writer isn't up to it). But in the end, it was just kind of horrible. Miserable people and misery triumphing in the end. The much-vaunted twist at the end was something I never expected and was very well written, but I can't say I will be seeking out more of the author's work. I flat-out asked somebody if it was like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because I don't like reading so descriptively about torture and violence, and they said no, but I'm not 100% sure that was accurate. It is a different kind of torture, for sure, but it still was something I couldn't read at bedtime without worrying about it giving me nightmares.

I think I just had a run of a lot of miserable and highly unsympathetic characters all in a row. Thus the palate cleanser:

Three Men in a Boat - this is incredibly silly and quotable. It's like Wilde-lite and I love the language. I need more stuff like this for a while I think.

"How good one feels when one is full - how satisfied with ourselves and the world! People who had tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained. One feels so forgiving and generous after a substantial and well-digested meal - so noble-minded, so kindly-hearted."

Next up is Monuments Men, which it looks like I need to read before the George Clooney version hits theaters. It was one of my mom's book club books which can be hit or miss, but this is the intellectual book club and she really liked it so I am looking forward to it.

What are you all reading out there in Blogville?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Does That Make Me Crazy? Probably...

I'm still around, things have been quiet because one of my coworkers got a new job and we haven't replaced her and my other coworker was on vacation so last week I got to do two people's jobs and this week I got to do three people's jobs. Well, not really. Let's just say we are a little behind but I gave it the old college try. And not the "drink stuff somebody mixed in a garbage can and wake up the next day in your party clothes" kind of try. But I am pretty proud of myself.

And my reward is going to be my first vacation day in seven months! We are headed up to Reno in the a.m. to give that storage unit of stuff a dirty look and visit a lot of people. It should be a blast, other than the drive and the potential for bad weather that always comes with the Sierra Nevadas in springtime.

And since what's a post with no pictures of plants, here's our trip to Hakone Gardens last weekend.
It was a weird, humid hazy day but the cherry blossoms and the azaleas were looking lovely. Too early for the wisteria though except in the sunniest spots.
And there were lots of people there, so it was a challenge waiting for people to move behind a shrub so they wouldn't spoil the photo.
But it was worth it. We tried to go to Filoli but they were having some sort of open house/family day and it was $20 for members (!) as opposed to the normal FREE. Also, huge crowds of small children. I don't go to gardens to be surrounded by people.
I go to gardens to maintain the illusion that there totally isn't a dude right behind that shrub. He's in the next shot.

So wish me luck, I have to go to bed so we can drive to Reno bright and early! And cross your fingers that we can unload some furniture while we're there!

Bonus! This is the cool creepy video from which I stole my title.