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?

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!