Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Still Here. Barely.

I am trying to finish everything up before my trip. And pack. And find a suitable pair of shoes to bring. Everything else is pretty much under control.

But I told my coworkers that I was going on my trip with only a carry-on and to a woman, they were aghast. Is this so crazy? I think I can do it. It's not a big partying trip for which I will need lots of fancy outfits, we're staying with family the entire time and they all have washing machines. My only worry is shoes. I was just going to bring one pair but I am really wishing I had room for a cute pair, maybe to go with one dressy outfit?

Odds are in favor of the weather being crappy for the most part and there are zero dressy events planned, but cute clothes are sure cute. I'm torn. I am bringing not-totally-hideous sneakers for the walking but I am really tempted to toss in a cute pair of heels and a skirt just in case. they wouldn't take up that much space, right?

Not the most fab shoes ever but at least they are comfy and I can waterproof them somewhat (also, at least they're not white).

Books for the trip have been a major triumph though: my mom loaned me a biography of Gertrude Bell, I just obtained the complete stories of Dorothy Sayers and the author of one of my FAVORITE BOOKS EVER just put out a new book that I am not allowed to crack until I am safely ensconced on a plane.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SCB's Book Meme

The Rules (for there must always be RULES):

1. Go through the alphabet, and for each letter, think of a book you've read that starts with that letter (A, An, and The do not count).

2. You must write down the FIRST book you think of for any given letter. This may make for some odd choices, but them's the breaks.

3. You must have actually READ the book. (I thought of lots that started with some letters, but I hadn't read them.)

4. If you think of a more impressive-sounding book for a particular letter, but you've already written your first thought down, you CANNOT change to the more impressive-sounding book. As an example, you have to leave "Fifty Famous Fairy Tales" (the Whitman Publishing pink and white one) on the list, even if you come up with fifty more impressive books afterwards.

5. If you can think of a book for X, you win... my lasting admiration (I can't afford real prizes!)

6. You can then tag as many people as you like. The more the merrier.

Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
Busman's Honeymoon - Dorothy Sayers
Coraline - creepy kid's book by Neil Gaiman (is it sad I thought of this randomly, before one of my FAVORITE books, The Count Of Monte Cristo?)
Deerskin - Robin Mckinley
The Emerald City of Oz (I read so many Oz books as a kid I can't tell them apart any more. Pretty much uniformly good, as I recall)
The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand (yes I read it, that doesn't men I agree with it)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I am usually skeptical of super-popular stuff but I really enjoyed this one)
The Hounds of the Morrigan - Pat O'Shea
The Inn at Lake Devine (look this one up, it's a fun read)
Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Verne
Kitchen Confidential (I have a soft spot for foodie books)
Lord of the Rings (then I don't have them as three/four separate options)
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Notes From a Small Island
Of Mice and Men - Steinbeck again
Provenance (see my previous post about this book)
Rue Tatin (my current fluffy travel/food read)
Sweet Thursday - John Steinbeck
Tam Lin - Pamela Dean
Under The Tuscan Sun (cheesy)
Can I count Vanity Fair? I read a LOT of it but I am fairly sure Thackeray was getting paid by the word as man, that book is LONG.
Where the Wild Things Are

I am kind of disappointed that I still can't think of anything for Q,X, Y, or Z but I figured I might as well get the ball rolling and maybe I will think of something for them later. And I'm going to attempt to tag Lojo, Lauralynne, Cookbook and Kerry, if they have time.

Edit: I actually like this meme more than the BBC book list one as I have read a lot of those, but ALL of these.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Is A Fascinating Book.

I highly recommend it. Art forgery has always intrigued me and this is a whole new avenue of forgery, forging a picture's history and background by altering archives at major museums. So even if the picture is a mediocre example of the genre, it will be highly marketable due to the extensive paper trail proving how really real it is. They make it sound easy (if I was the Tate or the V&A I don't think I'd like that). And the forger now makes a career of selling "Genuine Fakes' and does exhibitions etc. "in the style of". So I guess points for making lemons out of lemonade. Or prison time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Hunt Doth Continueth. Eth.

The trip goals have been few. Have a good time. Bring some awesome books. Don't have to buy too much gear before you go. However, attempt at walking shoes #1 was a complete failure, and jacket #1 was much too bulky. Am I a picky person, or what? Yesterday attempt #2 at a jacket arrived from and didn't look remotely water-resistant. Or warm. Or comfortable (thus, no linky-link). So I dropped it off at REI and found this instead:

Moderately warm and waterproof and fits decently. I put on a sweater and a fleece under it in the store and it was still comfortable. So it doesn't need to do the heavy lifting in the keep-me-warm dept. but I think it will do the job overall.

Today attempt #3 at shoes also showed up. I am DYING here, people. Not Martha and Mighty Girl post adorable travel roundups but I seriously need some solid walking shoes that are waterproof and not too heavy/bulky (ahem, not you, stupid big running shoes with mesh panels, thankyouverymuch). MG's modus operandi of "we’re walking on cobblestones in the rain here, so these are cheap, destroyable flats from Target" does not work in my world. And I coincidentally have the same pair of cute flats that NM wore on her big Paris trip (and I am trying to EBay them if anybody thinks they're cute and wears a size 12).

I hate shoes. And shopping. And especially shoe shopping. Especially shoe shopping for all-day walking in rainy cold places. How do people who live there do it? Probably much like I do here when it snows, by getting in the car. Sigh.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reno Has Its Points

Although in this case they are more round.

Or sometimes lumpy.

And there are a LOT.

It's the great Reno Balloon Race!

It sure does brighten up your morning to see this on the way to work.

I promise more posts with content soon, but until then, I am super busy, so pretty pictures! And you can clickity-click to embiggen if you like.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Itinerary...

This is going to be quite the multi-part trip. Part one is theoretically a high school reunion in the Bay Area. That will be a weekend with my family and friends and should be quite nice. The weather should also be respectable. If there is time, I would like to go see the Post-Impressionist exhibit at the De Young in Golden Gate Park.
from here.
Then we fly to Newark. Matt has a cousin in Hoboken who got married this summer. We missed the wedding, so we will stop there for about three days before we head out. I hope to hit a museum or two while we are so close to NYC. I am trying to think of a wedding gift or at least some sort of hostess gift as we will be crashing there. The happy couple didn't register as they are both older and have kids from prior marriages and tons of stuff. And I think they may have eloped and we may have just missed an after-party of some sort. I'd just bring some nice wine but we aren't checking bags, so no liquids :(

THEN we fly to Manchester and take a train to Skipton and a cab or something to Earby. This is in North Yorkshire, a.k.a. the Yorkshire Dales, as made famous by James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small. Depending on who you ask it may be in Yorkshire or Lancashire because apparently they changed the boundary years ago and the locals didn't appreciate it very much. We will be staying with Matt's grandad in a large old cold damp house so that is one more thing to pack for. We are having some quality family time here and helping out around the house, I am not sure what I will do so I will probably offer to do some cooking or gardening if there is anything I can help with.

from here. This is down the street.
Lastly we are having a bit of time on our own - Matt is a rabid atheist but adores cathedrals (go figure) so we are taking a weekend trip of our own to Durham. I figure a nice weekend pottering around town looking at castles and staying in some little B&B sounds like a nice end to a big family trip.

from here.

So don't ask me how I am going to do all this with only a carry-on. My two saving graces are 1. I can leave the warm-weather stuff in Los Gatos (no need for sandals anywhere else), and 2. we will be staying with family almost the whole trip so I can do laundry. So I really only need to pack for maybe five days at a stretch. Five cold, damp days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why Is It Always...

As soon as I buy a plane ticket somewhere, I realize that I need decent walking shoes and a raincoat? What do I do here when I have to walk somewhere really far away? Or when it rains? Well, get in my car, in both cases. Sigh.

Wishing for this:

Seriously considering this:

More trip details to come...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Really Am Back

And I keep thinking about things to blog about... and then forgetting them. So today I will just say I have made minor progress on the bedroom front: not much, but I found a decent pair of sheets today. We had a shopping expotition to investigate some holiday-type sale options and I found a lovely soft sateen set in a nice latte color. I might be tempted by this duvet cover if it was on sale or if they had an actual picture of it on a bed. But it's a start. I'm enjoying that dark brown, and it would look nice with my new sheets...

I'm still scared to refinish the dresser. But that's mostly because I'd much rather try and Craigslist it and use the cash to replace it with something slightly more tall and skinny. So I am not going to mess with it just yet.

What are you up to this holiday weekend (or normal weekend, you Canadians)? I aim to spend the rest of it in my garden...

That ridiculous thing on the teepee in the middle is my beans. Or lack thereof. I am wondering if I just planted them really late this year or what, because I have gotten almost NO beans this year! We had a very cold wet spring so I planted them very late and I have no idea what else could be affecting them.

Them's some tomaters. Or at least the plants. Somebody helpfully watered the living bejabers out of them while I wasn't around so they are huge and lush and full of flowers and almost no fruit. It's a little surreal, they are so huge. The orange cherry and yellow pear tomatoes are going nuts though, so I have plenty to harvest now that I stopped watering them. It's just all the tiny ones. I've had two of the big purple cherokees so far and it is almost silly how sweet they are. I hope we don't have an early frost, I want more of them!