Weekend Review

So I was home for a week…leaving on Wednesday to teach courses in Portland, OR.  But I managed to get quite a bit done during the week I was home.

A girl should be so lucky to have a husband who came home from work early on Friday to whip up some enchiladas made with real New Mexico chile’s that he mail ordered while you were out-of-town.

I’ve got to work on my heat tolerance…but flavor was spot on and the perfectly ripe avocado was nice and cooling!

Before I left, I had picked out some paint to match the paint color in our master bathroom.  This looks like a hallway…but it is actually our closet.  Through that door is the main hallway of our house and the red continues the entire length.  This led me to feel like our closet is in the hall…and over time, it started to really annoy me.  Don’t get me wrong…as reds go…it is a lovely hue, and we’ve got the same red on another wall in the family room…but it just didn’t belong in our master hallway closet.

I used two coats of primer (that is some seriously dark paint), and was amazed at how much I liked it, even before any real paint made it onto the walls.

…and here is the final result…

I *LOVE* it!  The color is Benjamin Moore Wish…and closely matches the bathroom which is through the door on the right.

It brightens up the space and makes the whole space feel like a master suite, instead of a bathroom off of a hallway with a closet that leads to the bedroom.  I’ve been thinking of painting the bedroom as well…but it is not as pressing now that the transition is not so jarring.

Woody had a geobiology conference at Caltech all day Saturday, and I attended a friends tenure celebration after getting coffee and catching up with a friend.

Mark clued us in to a pop-up store happening this weekend…so we headed to 3rd and Fairfax to get some chilaquiles for breakfast from Lotería at the Original Farmer’s Market.  Stuffed we headed to an unexplored area of the city…the Arts District, just east of downtown LA.

The pop-up itself was interesting…all american made, all menswear, and very  hipster…as such, we were warned of beards and selvedge denim.  We didn’t purchase anything…but ogled some hammered metal cuff bracelets, canvas aprons, pretty surf boards, pomades, vintage styled rucksacks and saw a lot of stripes, wool, denim, and leather.

Had we known of all the interesting places to grab a bite to eat, we would’ve skipped 3rd and Fairfax and headed directly here.  Despite having just eaten, we couldn’t pass up a handpie from Pie Hole.

We opted for the beef hand pie…which was warmed up for us.  It’s delightfully flaky crust and savory beef inside was perfect…not juicy, but not dry either.  I would definitely stop by this place again, if I was in the neighborhood!

Across the street was another place that is now on our list…Wurstküche…a place full of sausages, Belgian fries and beer…what’s not to like?

And then, because we had not had enough pastry…I made a quiche…which was one the better ones in recent memory.  Full of kale, mushrooms, pancetta and Gruyère with some zucchini on top – made more delicious as we had a friend over for dinner whose wife and baby are out-of-town.

All in all, a delightful and productive weekend!

Now it’s time to finish the laundry, get organized and pack up for Portland!

Thursday in San Francisco

There is always a giant conference (AGU) this time of year in San Francisco and in previous years, he has had to tough it out for a week by himself as it was always the busiest time of the year for my work. Not this time! I flew in yesterday and have two full days to explore the city while woody is in meetings.
I caught up with 3 friends yesterday over drinks and dinner and today I’m rambling around exploring!

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This past weekend, we…

…drank coffee

I watched some soccer…

…enjoyed late breakfast/early lunch with this girl at this place.  (delicious huevos!)

…made some progress cleaning up this disaster…

 {I can’t believe I just shared a pic of ‘the room’…although I’m comforted by the fact that I think everyone has one of these…the room/closet/corner/garage where stuff gets stashed away…hidden…never to be spoken of again…hoping that little elves will magically appear and clean/tidy/sort/rearrange it for you!}

Moving on…

I organized my fabrics using these (having seen the idea over here and here)…

We ate pasta carbonara for dinner…

 Dinner was followed by planning for Sunday and watching True Grit…which we enjoyed, but it was certainly not our favorite Cohen brothers movie…and ended a bit abruptly for my taste!

Now Sunday…Sunday – we had a real adventure.

This past Christmas, Woody and I gave each other one of these – a Watermaster Raft by Big Sky Inflatables.  The idea being that we would be able to access a lot more water for fly fishing on our own without hiring a (very $$$$) guide.  Woody has been dreaming of one of these for years…and they finally arrived in February and until yesterday…we hadn’t had the chance to get them out and take them for a spin.

Need I remind you that we live in LA county…and open water (not including the ocean) is a bit hard to come by.  We researched and found this tiny lake just outside of Wrightwood, on the eastern side of the San Gabriel Mountains.  They stock it with trout and there are no motorized vessels allowed.  However…I would classify it as a large pond…lake is stretching it a bit.

This was the first time to set up the rafts….

Just as advertised, very easy…unfold, get out the foot pump, attach it and in a few minutes, half the raft is inflated.

There are two bladders, so if one fails…the whole thing won’t sink.

There is a foot strap so you can pick you feet up.

Everything is very light weight and when the whole thing is packed up, it’s fits in its own dry bag and only weighs 38 lbs.

The raft itself only weighs about 23 lbs., so once it is inflated and ready to go, it is very easy to launch.

 Getting situated…the seat needed some adjustment.

It comes with flippers as well…and was very maneuverable both with the oars and the flippers.

Very easy to paddle…and on a flat pond with little wind and no current…almost a bit too maneuverable….which bodes well for moving water.

Despite what the pictures might portray, we were not the only ones at the lake…there were easily 15 people already fishing from the shore when we arrived and probably closer to 35 people by the time we left…including a lot of children and families.  Also…this lake was stuffed with goldfish…big goldfish, and goldfish that hung out in the shallows only to be taunted by boys and girls under the age of 7 who tried repeatedly to catch them using anything they could other than a rod and reel.

When we were done, we just hauled the boats out onto the grass, removed the accessories and deflated the bladders and let them dry a bit before folding them up and packing it all in.

We took the long and scenic route home on the 2 or the Angeles Crest Highway.  It was Woody’s first time driving through and the first time I had seen it since the Station Fire swept through the San Gabriel mountains  in late August of 2009.  Click here for an aerial infra-red shot.  Great photos and a map can be found here

(seen from the 10 and the 110 interchange.  The smoke actually created its own weather systems!)

It was amazing to be driving and looking in almost any direction and realizing that everything in view burned.  All of it.  And also amazing to see how it changed the landscape as well.  It is a very different forest now and will be for a long time!

We stopped for some groceries and then headed for an afternoon snack and beer at this place.  This is our favorite pizza…E-V-A-H!

 The Avocado Festival…sounds weird…but it is scrumptious!  The beer…also tasted very good!

Then we headed home and hung out with Cleo…since she felt a little ignored by not being invited on the adventure!

 How was your weekend?  What did you do?

Busy Weekend…aka how to not be lonely…

Woody is off gallivanting around Europe doing science-y things (I know I sound real smart), while I single parent our canine child, work a ton and run the household.  I’m used to lengthy periods of alone time…I use to be the one who was off parading around the wilderness…now I’m the one holding down the fort.  You might worry I’m a tad lonely…don’t fret…I have plenty of things to fill my time.

Shark Week! – Only the best week of the summer.  I know that most of the shows are recycled from year to year…but I still love me some shark shows.  I was a bit surprised by just how many shark attack shows there were or even worse…When Fish Attack…2.  But this didn’t keep me from gawking.

Spinning – I took my first ever spinning class at this place since I bought a Groupon for it.  Upside…I did not die…which I sort of expected.  I did think at the end that my legs might just crumple as I stepped off the bike…luckily they held.  And it was over before I thought it would be…big bonus there!

Yard and garden work – I planted some tomato plants and herbs in pots on our deck.

I just couldn’t go another summer buying tomatoes…even from the farmer’s market.  It just didn’t seem like summer without tomatoes fresh from the garden.  They were so little back then…

Now they are big honkers…

with real little ‘maters growing…

Socializing – since I no longer work with this lady…now I have to pencil her into my ever-so-busy-social-calendar…I kid.  But seriously, when you work everyday with someone for over 2 years…and then they are just not there anymore…you go through a little withdrawal…so to get my Jennie fix…we grabbed dinner here and laughed and caught up.

They had such delicious things as chicken and waffles with maple glazed squash and sage brown butter, beets with goat cheese ice cream and gnocchi with asparagus, crème fraîche and basil, and it was a hidden and unexpected outdoor patio in the middle of Hollywood!

All summer long, we enjoy the Ath al Fresco or the garden version of the Caltech Faculty Club.  It’s grown hugely in popularity, good for them…not so good for just grabbing a bite to eat on a weeknight without any crowds…but we still go and it’s great.

This past Saturday, I was quite the girl around town.  Early morning errands, mid-afternoon found me at The Huntley attending a Colorado College event to meet soon-to-be-freshmen headed to Colorado while enjoying an amazing view and some nibbles.

Then it was back to Pasadena…at the painfully slow pace of LA traffic on a Saturday afternoon to meet up with Jen, feed Cleo and pack up delicious picnic supplies for an evening with the California Philharmonic at the L.A. Arboretum.

photo courtesy of Jen Griffes

I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of these events until last week!  Who wouldn’t want to go set-up a picnic on a beautiful lawn on a summer evening and enjoy some wine and great classical music?  This particular evening was music of Rogers & Hammerstein in Europe.

photo courtesy of Jen Griffes

Peacocks abound at the arboretum and even sing-along to the music and applause.

photo courtesy of Jen Griffes

Cleo – She’s been keeping me company, snuggling in the morning under the covers, and sunning herself on the patio…she’s been ultra-serious about keeping an eye out for critters this summer…and each night she wants to inspect the hedges for any little bit of noise or movement.  We walk every morning and sometimes in the evening.  Then there was some early morning puking on Sunday and of course some sneaky attempts at lap-lounging while I’m on the couch.  We’re a good team.

More updates to come…trying to make sure not to waste these precious last few weeks of summer!

Proof of Ice…

Ice on the sidewalk/lawn while walking Cleo around 8 am in the morning on Thursday morning.  Chilly.

Today, pure sunshine and temperatures in the high 70’s.  I was completely overdressed in jeans, flip-flops and a long-sleeved shirt when I walked up to the flea market at PCC.  In a bit, we are off to watch the superbowl this afternoon…and I’m going to try and squeeze in some house tidying and some laundry.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Oh World Cup…how I miss thee already!

I love soccer.  I love world cup.  I especially loved waking up on weekday mornings to watch the games that were on starting at 7 am pacific.  Rather than waking up…gettting ready, walking Cleo and heading into work – Woody and I were waking up…putting on a pot of coffee, and taking the mornings a bit slower…and watching as much of the 7 am games as possible before heading into work…late.  Luckily, my boss is a world cup fan as well…and was very understanding of my tardiness.  And sadly now…the world cup is over…and we have to wait another 4 years.

We’ve only got tv in the bedroom…let’s just say there was a bit of a mix up when we decided to get rid of our cable…so all games have been watched in the bedroom.  I know, I know…it’s not coffee and early morning soccer.  But who is going to complain when there is ‘real’ queso and rootbeer and some midday soccer.

And by real queso…I mean the kind made with only the realest of cheeses – velveeta and rotel…in the cooking device of champions…the microwave, of course!

Today’s midday fare looked very similar…except swap in real beers!  Goodbye world cup…I’ll miss the drama queens…the vuvuzelas…the ‘blame it on the ball’ excuse…and all the exciting moments of well-played soccer.

Congratulations Spain!