Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The world is smaller than a needle's eye...

So I spent last week in the northeast. This involved eight breakfast, lunch, or dinner dates; three states; five children; two dogs; two grandmothers; staying up until 2am with the help of several enablers every night; a Thanksgiving dinner; a sing; nine boxes of adolescent ephemera; a gay movie; a walk in the woods; and so. Much. Dessert. In short, it was everything a visit to the northeast should be. Except maybe three weeks too short. And way too far from Texas. If you live far away from me, whether or not I saw you last week, please note that I'm loving you HARD this December to make up for all the time we don't get to spend together. The world is just too big.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In which Rebecca is awfully wholesome. And Joe likes jars.

Yesterday I actually did every single thing on my to-do list, including getting up at a reasonable time, cleaning several rooms, and hosting a canning workshop! Phew! Normally I would have to follow that amount of productivity and socializing with being disgustingly lazy for at least 24 hours. But today I biked to alameda in between rainstorms, made some jam gift tags, roasted beets, and now I'm looking for thanksgiving activities to do with the kids. (Thanks, sfusd, for scheduling furlough days for incredibly random times instead of say, the friday after veterans day or the rest of thanksgiving week.) Ooh, I totally want to make this! I know I grumble about work, but unlike most programs we have a pretty good supplies budget. I mean, I can actually get reimbursed for making a turkey out of fruit!

So, yes, the cranberries have been sauced. More coverage and recipes on the jam blog.

Don't let this video fool you - Joe's very experienced at putting on the two piece lids on and taking them off. He'd just rather pop the button. (Or, you know, put just the ring on and then stick his little paws directly into the jar. That's also popular.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Full service library

OK, so I got this mysterious package in the mail yesterday. Upon closer inspection, it was from... the Oakland Library?

I opened it to find a work folder I've been missing for the last month. OK, that was nice of them. It had my address in it, but I'm a little confused that they a) they bothered to mail it instead of maybe checking my library info and calling me. And b) it's not just sitting in a lost and found bin full stop. But that's not actually the weirdest part. I give you the full contents of the box:

Yes, the cash-strapped Oakland Public Library, which was just closed on Friday due to budget cuts, spent $5.72 to send me random old books. John Grisham, anyone?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mom it's broken...

So, I may not be the MOST cranberry-sauced obsessed cook around (am I the only one who remembers Adam Carolla ranting about it and giving out his homemade recipe on Loveline?) but I'm doing a good impression of it lately. My cranberry sauce canning workshop is next weekend. OK, maybe "workshop" is a fancy way of saying that I'm going to put up some sauce with the help of a few singing friends, but that hasn't stopped me from getting way too excited about it. If you're not following By the Spoonful on facebook, you're about to miss out on a weeklong retrospective of cranberry sauce Americana. Just sayin. Here's the teaser...

"Cranberry sauce a la Bart!" Oh, innocent second season Simpsons.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Point of order

Please note: In that incredibly annoying way I have of always obliviously posting within 12 hours of Rebecca... well, I seem to have done it again. Only this time I actually checked to see if she'd posted first (the way Richard is always telling me I'm a bad bad friend for not doing), and so instead of making my post jump on top of hers, I reset the time to make it appear right under hers. All this is to say, please keep scrolling. Thank you, and good night.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

O that I knew the secret place

I may be back from Texas but somehow I feel even more on vacation. Tuesday/Wednesday was a blur of last minute voting decisions and various crushes of people (election day, dia de los muertos, giants victory parade.) Now I'm catsitting for Natalia, whose new place is just a few minutes from work, so I'm staying over here to cut out my commute and do my best impression of city living. Today I got a SF library card (I took advantage of the Mission branch's spanish language collection and checked out more Christie in translation!) and ate pupusas and asian pears at the farmers' market up the street. Let's just ignore the part where I worked in between there, ok?

Backing up to actual vacation. My head is still buzzing with the cooper book. The singing was starting to look reminiscent of western mass - three babies who were born since I was there in January! Not to mention the older kids who did a fine job of leading. Twas lovely to see the usual Austin gang as well as a crowd of visitors from Portland. Much tex mex was eaten. I was showered with presents for 3 nights of hanukkah! Texas mosquitoes are evil. Finally watched some baseball on Sunday night. (On mute, because nothing is worse than listening to baseball announcers fill time. We turned the sound on for God Bless America and promptly wished we hadn't.)

On Monday I finally dragged out my cell phone and remembered to document something for posterity:

On our way to pick Katie up from work, we took a short walk by the creek. Here's Richard and the scenic... power plant.

Hello, guitar sculpture.

Kicking back with a Topo Chico.

Anniversary cookie!! Happy 2 years of being married and confusing texans by not going downhill!

This cookie kept taunting us by looking like an ice cream sandwich but not actually being one on a hot day. Not that it stopped us from devouring it.

After lunch, with a few hours before my flight, we remembered that we don't actually know what to do for fun that doesn't involve the above. After much discussion we ended up playing hearts in Zilker Park. Which, when followed by an impromptu wade in Barton Springs, made for a surprisingly respectable Afternoon Out in Austin.

Can't wait til February when Richard and Katie make their Triumphant Return to California!

Now if you'll excuse me, here are my plans for the rest of the evening:

K&R Relive Rebecca's Year Abroad Part III: Quilotoa Loop

The third and final installment! In which our heroes are yuppies and spend four days at a beautiful eco-lodge. (But Rebecca told us to!)

Lupine beans are a big crop in Ecuador, which means pretty lupines everywhere. Raise your hand if you can't ever see lupines without thinking of Miss Rumphius.
This, my friends, was the view from the mirror above the sink where I washed up every morning. I know right?????
This is Richard riding a horse. Her name was Lluvia and he loved her more than life itself. I kept looking over and he would be adorably patting her flank and stroking her mane. It was almost, but not quite, enough to make me forget about how I hate horses with the fiery hatred of a thousand burning suns.
This is me on my horse. In case you are not adept at reading my facial expressions, this is a fake smile of rage and terror. And we hadn't even started riding yet. It was contorted in some variation of this look (though generally with less fake smile and more rage and terror) for the entire four hours we rode.
This is the view when you're sitting on the (composting) toilet. It's a bad exposure, but out the window are miles of rolling mountains and cloud forest. The little garden is full of herbs and flowers and the sink drains straight into it (biodegradable soap, natch). I can only assume there are hundreds of photos with this same view posted across the internet by former travelers who stayed here. It's a pretty excellent way to pee.
Inside the cute 3-floor dorm where we stayed (these are the beds across from ours. Ours looked much the same, only trashed with our belongings from the second we arrived until the moment we left).
R, swing, balcony.
Lake Quilotoa. It's actually even bluer than this, if you can imagine.

Okay, I swear you've heard the last about Ecuador out of me. Onward!