Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things I've Learned Living Alone

I feel like this post would be more appropriate to write in the last week before Will comes back, but I've been thinking about a few things lately, and I just felt like writing it now. It's my blog - I can do that. And if I feel like writing another one in a few weeks, I will. So there.

Anyway, I have learned a few things about myself in the last 3.5 weeks since Will left for the backpacking trip, and I thought I would share them.

  1. I can whip up a pretty tasty little meal for one (or two, really). I already knew I was a decent enough cook...while I don't use recipes very often, I am pretty darn good at looking around the kitchen and creating something out of whatever I have. Tonight it was eggplant, summer squash and tofu, pan-fried (with PAM, not oil) in the same pans I used last night but hadn't cleaned yet. The residue from last night's squash with tomatoes and onions was just enough to flavor tonight's squash (it's not gross - I swear!)
  2. I need to be less judgmental about household messes. I used to get really annoyed when Will would leave his dirty clothes on the floor, or would leave shoes strewn about the room instead of in a neat line, and I never understood how he could stand to have papers piling up everywhere. I have been alone in the apartment for a few weeks since the mom-induced-deep-clean, and I am a little embarrassed about my mess. There is a pile of papers on the couch, four pairs of shoes are lying haphazardly around, and let's just say that sometimes I find it easier to put my dirty jeans on the floor instead of the hamper, which is an arm's length away. Oy. It's true that you notice other people's messes more than your own, but I've noticed my own mess this week, and I have learned that I need to be more lenient when policing his messes. Because - shock of shocks - I am not perfectly neat and tidy all the time either.
  3. It is much more annoying to do the cooking AND the cleaning. I am so used to (spoiled by) Will helping out around the house, that by the time I get done doing the dishes, I realize that I don't feel like cooking. Or by the time I finish cooking, I don't feel like doing dishes. Tonight, I tried doing dishes while I cooked, which resulted in slightly blackened eggplant and tofu. It tasted fine though, so I didn't mind. Multitasking! Yeah! I'd much rather team up with Will and split the tasks though.
  4. I don't really like living alone. As I mentioned in this post, I've learned that all my talk of loving this whole living alone thing was crazy talk. I don't love living by myself, I love living in my apartment with Will here all the time. It took him leaving for me to realize that, and I guess that's what they say about not knowing what you have till it's gone and all I'm glad he's only temporarily gone.
  5. I can keep myself occupied. It's been nice to learn/reassure myself that I am not wholly dependent on our relationship. I've been having dinners with friends, reading a lot, and spending some time with myself. It's good to remember that I can get by on my own, that I am self-sufficient, that I won't just sit around bored if left to my own devices. I like that.
One month from today, we'll both be back in Berkeley, embarking upon the new adventure of officially living together, and I couldn't be happier about it. His parents said today (when he told them) that "it's about time," and maybe they're right. All I know is that we are ready now, and we're looking forward to it.

Quick Hiker Update

I just got off the phone with Will, who says they made it to Crater Lake around noon, and have joined up with his family. They spent the afternoon showering, wandering around, drinking beer, and eating sandwiches and brownies, and will have cheeseburgers for dinner. Sounds pretty nice to me! At this point, they are planning to finish their hike 1 day ahead of schedule, so that Tom (the brother) can get back in time to go back to school. Pretty amazing if you think back to that first week when they were two days behind with an injured hiker!

He is having his mom take pictures to send to me, and he said he'll write up a little blurb of a recap post for me to post to the trail journal, so be on the lookout for that sometime this weekend, if you're following their journey. :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Cohabitation

As some of you know already, Will and I have decided to move in together when he gets back from the Adventure Quest (aka PCT hike). Let me start by saying that we are both very excited about this! Very, very much so. Now for some back story...

When he left for the hike, we were both nervous about what would happen when he got back - we had been *almost* living together for about two years (due to him having 4 roommates and me having no roommates), and we have been dating for over four years, but we didn't want to get ahead of ourselves. We prepared ourselves for two months apart, and for the possibility that our relationship might change come September. Whether it would move forward or move backward (or stay exactly the same), we didn't know, but we didn't want to plan for something that was two months away. What if we decided to move in together, but then after two months apart, we realized that we really wanted to be on our own? It just seemed silly to make any major decisions at that point, so we held off.

Personally, even though we were trying to have no expectations, I was kind of hoping that we would end up deciding to move in together for real. After a couple of years of pseudo-cohabitation, I was pretty sure I was ready to make it official. However, I still had this whole "I love living alone, I love my apartment that I have all to myself" thing going on in my head. So I really wasn't sure what I was thinking.

After two weeks apart, he called and said he had been thinking about it, and that he thought we should move in together when he gets back. I instantly agreed. While he was gone, I remembered something I had thought about briefly while he was gone for about 5 days a few months ago: I don't actually want to live alone. For all my talk of "I love living alone" and such, I really just love living alone with him. I don't want to live by myself, I just don't want roommates that aren't him. I don't actually like living truly alone, and it took him leaving for me to truly recognize that. It's not that I can't live on my own, or that I am uncomfortable or anything like that; it's just that it is so much better with him around.

So, we talked about it a bit. We talked about what we both wanted, and what we both wanted was to live together. Ideally, we could find an affordable 2-bedroom in our ideal neighborhood (where we can walk to the butcher, the baker, the florist, the grocery store and the ice creamery), but at the moment, that's out of our price range. Given that my 1-bedroom is pretty spacious, and has free laundry, parking, and a yard, it's the best option right now. And oh yeah, our rent will be way cheap. Also, by wonderful fortune, my landlord is going to give us free access to the 1-car-garage-sized storage space that he has been using for the last two years (it's right downstairs in the driveway). We will be sharing the space with him, but since Will's storage unit is only about 1/3 the size of the garage, I think all of our non-essentials and extra furniture will fit just fine.

Now I'm starting to think about what will go into storage and what will stay in the apartment, and how we will rearrange things to accommodate his basic furniture (desk, dresser, etc.). Though let's be honest - I've been rearranging furniture in my mind for several months thinking each time, "Now Kim, don't get ahead of yourself..." - It's a female thing, I'm sure.

I'm also trying to think of ways we can make it feel like our place instead of just my place. He astutely commented that it will feel like my place because it has been my place for the last two years, but I am still determined to transform it a little. I'm thinking of things like changing out some of the pictures, and getting new pillows for the couch and a new rug for the living room...I think the pink jersey shag is a bit worn, and it's not very neutral. I can't really change the wall color (painting once was enough for me!), but I think some subtle changes in accents could make this place less strictly-feminine and more cohabitation-friendly. He said he doesn't care much, that he is not the decorator in the relationship (he hasn't hung anything on his walls since Freshman year of college), but any tips are greatly appreciated!

So yes. Very exciting business. After years of "sort of" living together, we are really looking forward to making it official! And who am I kidding - this is one big organization project, and I love me some organization! :-)

Alameda Pie Truck, guys?

There's this Pie Truck.

It's based out of Alameda.

You order a pie off the website, and dude delivers them to you.

This dude is quite obviously a genius.

Why don't y'all go order some pies.

About Pie Truck
Pie Truck makes delicious pies and brings them to you! Place an order by emailing .

Dining Nook

How cute is this little dining nook? I can just picture myself sitting down to a cozy meal...
@ Apartment Therapy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hiker Update

Since Will isn't able to update his trail journal regularly, I thought I'd post a little update to keep people in the loop.

They had a great time in Ashland, and stayed one night at Callahan's Lodge (which I came into contact with through Twitter of all things!). Callahan's actually looks really nice - I'd like to stay at the lodge some day, and they were excited to meet the guys - they had found his trail journal through my Twitter and had been following their progress. Ashland sounds like it was a lot of fun as well, and hearing about it only reinforced my desire to go there for a little vacation someday. Will sent me his program from Henry VIII, as well as a "Kings and Queens of England" coloring book. :)

After leaving Ashland, Chris had another minor knee injury, but was able to make it through their 19-mile day the next day with no trouble. They completed 19 miles with a 12oo foot elevation gain, and finished by 5pm! A very impressive day, if you ask me!

They are now officially back on schedule (having been 2 days behind after Chris' first injury and their added rest days in Etna), which is pretty outstanding. They've made up their time, and didn't even have to skip any of the trail! (Well, Chris missed that one 20-mile day that Will did alone, but he was injured) They arrived at Lake of the Woods on time, and are still going strong.

Last night, they had their first real "bear incident," where they heard bear-like noises coming from the woods around their camp. They made loud noises and the bear went away. It came back, however, 5 more times over the course of the night. Each time, they made loud noise and scared it away; but needless to say, they were pretty freaked out, and didn't get much sleep. Will just called me from the "saddle" where they are taking a lunch break (lunch is at 10:45am if you've been hiking since 7am!), and said they were very tired, but otherwise ok. Hopefully there will be no more bear incidents to follow!

They are due to arrive at Crater Lake on Thursday, where they will unite with Will's parents and brother for a night of camping and a day of hanging out at the lake. His brother will then join them for the rest of the trip.

So there you have it - not very well-written, but that's my little update! I will continue to post updates from the hikers as I get them, at least until Will has computer access and can update on his own.

Please feel free to visit his trail journal and read past entries - and leave him a comment in the Guestbook!

PS - You'll notice that his name has changed from "The Boy" to "Will." I figured there was no use in trying to keep him totally anonymous anymore, since the trail journal is labeled with his name anyway. Also, as my mom pointed out, he's not really a boy ("boy" sounds very young) ...even if it is just an affectionate shortening of "The Boyfriend" ;-) So there you go. He has a name.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Plant Progress...

I thought I would provide a little photo update of my little plant's progress since I transplanted it into a large pot a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

I love how the little new plant "blossoms" look when they're little babies. So cute. This was the first time I'd looked at the plant from the top, and I think it looks pretty neat, with all the "branches" jutting out at different, but complimentary, angles. Plants are cool!

Surprise! Three new little blossoms down below! Where did they come from??? Kind of hard to see in this picture, but they basically started growing out of the base of the plant.

The plant in its new home, in the corner by the fountain and the Dusty Miller (which is still looking sort of sad, but I'm hoping the sun will help it out a little).

Summer Squash and More!

I'm no Crazy Aunt Purl, but I sure as heck can buy summer squash at the Farmers Market! Ok, so that's not even close to impressive. But look how pretty it is!

I also bought the most adorable baby eggplants you've ever seen (perfect for making baked eggplant for one!), and a large bag of vine-ripened tomatoes for only $1! I'll be making some homemade tomato sauce this week for sure!

I bought some beautiful white corn, picked this morning only about 40 miles from where I live! And I purchased it directly from the family who farms it! Now if that's not supporting your local farmers, I don't know what is! Yay! I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I've been thinking a lot about supporting my local food economy. In California, this is fairly easy, especially in the Bay Area, where there are Farmers Markets nearly every day of the week, and much of the time, the farmers are the ones actually selling the goods. The cheese I buy is made less than an hour away.

Today's Purchases:
  • Garlic Herb Quark (omg I am a Quark convert. It is amazing.) - $5
  • Giant bag of vine-ripened tomatoes - $1
  • 1 bag baby spinach, 5 carrots, a bunch of fresh rosemary, 4 medium zucchinis, and two lemon-cucumbers - $6.75
  • 3 peaches and 1 nectarine - $0.90
  • 4 baby eggplants - $1.50
  • 1 medium-sized piece Indian Honey smoked salmon - $17.20 (SPLURGE!!! but it will last over a week)
  • 6 assorted summer squash (one in the picture is from last week) - $1.50
  • 4 ears of corn (I still can't get over the fact that it was picked this morning 40 miles from my apartment) - $3.00
  • 3 honey sticks (I think they were wildberry honey?) - $1
Grand total: $37.65 - Not too shabby for all this delicious, fresh food! Mmmmmm I am going to eat well this week! Good food makes me happy, especially when I got to spend the morning wandering around in the sunshine talking to the people who also love (and create!) the food.

Two Weeks of Employment

I have been employed for (almost) two weeks. Phew! It has been going well...there has definitely been a mental adjustment in going back to work, but overall, I'm liking it. I enjoy my routine, I like my coworkers, and I love my 10-minute commute. Everyone seems nice, and we're getting along well (yes, I know it's only been 2 weeks). I even have an intern for the next week or so - I never thought I'd have an assistant of any sort, but it's been very helpful having him around! I don't know what we'll do when he goes back to school next month! I suppose I'll have to make lunch runs and get the mail and sort files myself...le sigh :-)

My parents had flowers delivered to me (at work) during my first week, which was very thoughtful. The irises have since had to meet their fate in the compost bin, but everything else is still looking perky and colorful!

So yes. It's all going along nicely so far!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hot or Not?

Pottery Barn wine bottle chandelier. Hot or not?

Personally, I think it's a little ridiculous.

Can I Buy The Whole Picture?

I just got the new Pottery Barn catalog in the mail today, and this just took my breath away. I don't believe I will ever live in a place like this, but a girl can dream, can't she? It's all so lovely, from the grapes to the lanterns to the fireplace to the arbor to the comfy sectional. It all just looks so luxuriously comfortable. They do a pretty good job of making the sectional look tempting! Buy this sectional and your life will be like this!

Spud's Pizza: Closing! :(

This is some very sad news. Sunday, July 26, 2009 will be the final day of business for Spud's Pizza in Berkeley.

You can read about the reasons why on their website, and I feel like a bad neighbor since I've lived nearby for almost 3 years and have only gone in twice.

Not that it helps, but I plan on ordering pizza from them on Saturday night (I am hosting a Craft Night), and also going to the farewell party on Sunday. Let me know if you want to join me on Sunday as the neighborhood says goodbye to this awesome pizza joint.

A Must-Try Recipe?

Don't these speckled pink cranberry beans look pretty? I got the picture from Smitten Kitchen's post about a chorizo and asparagus dish that looks mighty tasty.

Delish. Though I wish the beans kept their color.

I also like it because it looks like an easy-to-adapt, I could add or subtract ingredients and make different things. Like make it Italian by using Italian sausage and sun dried tomatoes. Or something.

I will be trying this one!

Ooh House

Emika showed me this house online yesterday. Can I have it? Please? Too bad that even at a measly $550,000, it's out of my current price range. Oh right, that's why I'm renting a 1-bedroom apartment and not buying a 2-bedroom house right now. But I can certainly lust over it...and I shall. Just look at the pictures. The porch! The cute little yard! Those windows!! Sigh...

Excuses For My Lack of Gardening

I have so many reasons (erm excuses) for not starting a living, growing, delicious garden out in my backyard. Here they are:
  1. There is not much available space in my yard
  2. I have to go downstairs to get to the yard
  3. It's too late to start for this summer
Ok, so I only have three excuses. And all three of them can be countered by "Kim, Stop Being So Lazy And Just Do It Already!" Well, except for #3. I don't actually know if it's too late. It's probably not. And as for #1, I really haven't found a good spot in the yard for starting my own little garden. The best I've done is a withering tomato plant in my windowbox. I don't even want to show you a picture because it is so sad lately. In this post, the little plants were growing. They basically look like that still, but they're taller and browner. Height = good, color = bad. Let's not even discuss #2. L.A.Z.Y.

I want to have a garden like this someday. I am so insanely jealous I don't know what to do with myself. My friend Trisha is somehow able to grow more edible goodness in her NYC apartment than I am in Berkeley. I have four houseplants that are doing fine, but when it comes to keeping my basil and tomato plants alive, I am severely lacking in green thumbery.

Someday, I want to have a big, flat yard where I can (without having to lug things up and down the stairs) have a raised-bed garden. And grow corn and squash and pumpkins and tomatoes and all that goodness. Someday.

Lots of Someday. Gives me something to look forward to, right?


It's been a while since I've given you a hiker I thought I'd write to say the guys made it to Ashland! They have been making excellent time, despite the little delays in the first week, and now they get a day and a half to hang out in Ashland. He's going to try to see a show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (jealous!), and they should have fun just relaxing and recouping for a day.

There will be many more updates (including one about their adventure with the County Sheriff at Seiad Valley) on his trail journal, I'm sure, once he hooks up with a computer in a library or something. He's been getting pretty good reception for the last week or so, and we've been able to talk on the phone pretty frequently, but I'm still excited to read about it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I've basically just stolen this post from Brittany, but it's true. This article is just so spot-on.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I love these floor tiles. And the sink. From Apartment Therapy.


My friend Brittany posted this on her blog, and I think it's pretty neat. I mean, if I had to live in a tiny studio apartment, this would certainly be a good way to save space. It looks cool, anyway. And this way, you'd still have room for things like a couch, table, etc.

My Mom, The Writer

My mom recently started a blog to encourage her to write more frequently. Check out her blog here, at Between the Words. Her first entry is about books - which, if you know our family at all, is not really a surprise - and I just thought it was beautiful.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I am officially at the age where my friends are starting to get married. They're dropping like flies, and thanks to Facebook, it's all clearly documented. It's odd to be at the age where this is normal; because they're 25 or 26, it's not quite as shocking as it was when we were fresh out of college at age 22 or so. My dear friend Colette got engaged a few weeks ago, and while it wasn't a surprise (she and her now-fiance have been together for years and recently bought a house together), it was pretty exciting. And oh, the sparkly ring. So sparkly.

However, I was not prepared for the SECOND of my long-time friends to get engaged just a few weeks later! Reed and I have been friends since we were about two years old. We have been friends for over two decades. That's a long time when you are "only" 25 years old.

We knew this was coming. This November, she and David will have been together for 7 years. They have been living together in Colorado for the last 2 (he is getting his PhD). We all knew it would happen Someday...and Someday came on Friday, when David surprised us all by flying into Berkeley and "tricking" her into stumbling upon him on the UC Berkeley campus (where they met). He got down on one knee, she said yes, and the celebrating began!

On Saturday night, after David's parents took us all out to dinner, Reed told me that of course, I would be her Maid of Honor. I accepted, even though she hadn't asked so much as notified :-) A lot has changed since we were little (and I think I can confidently say that we've outgrown our severely awkward phases - see photo, circa 1996), and even though we lost touch for a few years in late high school and early college, the day we reconnected it was as if no time had passed.

She is my oldest friend and I couldn't be happier that she and David are finally engaged. Expect some wedding updates as I fulfill my Maid of Honor duties and I have weddings on my mind. This should be fun!

*I have had house guests every night but one since July 9, and will until Tuesday morning July 21, so apologies that the posting has been somewhat infrequent. It's been a bit busy around here, especially with the whole adjusting-to-working-again thing. I have photos on my camera that need uploading, and updates on the work-front as well. Coming Soon!*

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Retro-ish kitchen

Apartment Therapy hints at a Fourth of July innuendo, but I don't see that at all. Ok, maybe I do. But not enough to make me dislike anything about this kitchen (except the proximity of the dishwasher to the stove, which kind of wastes that corner of counter space).
I love:
  • The wall color
  • The red accent in the back splash
  • The stove (which totally reminds me of my parents' vintage stove)
  • The fact that there is a dishwasher
  • The little blue bowl on the counter (I have one that is very similar)
  • The red KitchenAid mixer (normally would not like the red, but it works)
  • The IKEA lid rack (kind of like mine)
  • The IKEA shelf (just like mine)
  • The fabulously colorful pots and pans
  • The pots/dishes on top of the shelf
  • The radishes (nice touch for a photo)
  • The fact that (I assume) they changed out the knobs on the counters and stove
In general, I prefer yellow as a primary kitchen color, but overall, I love this. It's just very well done, and all the accents are superb. Something about it feels very retro, but still modern, and I think it works nicely.

New Job, PS

It's day two of the new job, and it's going well so far. I have a LOT to learn, but it's a great environment and the rest of the staff is very helpful.

One thing I wanted to mention is that I need to put my foot in my mouth a little here...A few weeks ago, I said that Craigslist was the worst way to apply for jobs. At that point, I had applied for over 100 jobs total. 80+ of those were Craigslist ads, and I hadn't heard anything from any of those folks (except the student resource center at an unnamed school, and we all know how that one turned out).

However, this job, this wonderful wonderful "Just Right Job," was the result of my blind response to a Craigslist ad (the ad didn't even include the name of the company!). Yes, I am embarrassed about my rant. Ok, I was wrong. I admit it. There. Done. Universe, you have made a liar out of me!

(thank you)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ridiculous(ly awesome)

I went to this morning, and Christian was pointing at me. He has a new web series; it's pretty funny, and mostly unscripted. Check it out!

The Hikers Live!

After having no cell reception since leaving Alderbrook Manor Sunday morning, our faitful hiker guys have reached civilization! I just got a call to let me know they're doing well - they will arrive at Etna Summit shortly, where they will hitchhike to Alderbrook Manor (where they will spend the night) later this afternoon. They made it safely through the last 40 miles (making up the section they had to skip), and sounded good. Tomorrow, they'll be off to Seiad Valley, and from there, Ashland!

Read the Trail Journal (should be updated tonight) for more information!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weary Traveler?

I kind of like this, minus that chair. For a guest room? Love the cherry blossom accent too.

A Job! It's a Job!

Well friends, I am no longer unemployed! As of tomorrow, Tuesday 7/14/09, I will be the Assistant Studio Manager at Fantasy Studios. I'll be sitting at the reception desk, handling the phones and scheduling recording sessions/equipment use, as well as developing marketing and outreach for the studio (come record at Fantasy!)...and many other tasks as well, I'm sure :-)

It's pretty exciting, and a little scary. I mean, I've spent the last 4.5 months "hiking my own hike" (to steal a phrase from all the backpacking/hiking literature I've been reading), and now I'm officially going back to the world of the working. It's what I want, to be sure, but it's a little weird to think about going back to work. Honestly, I'm still kind of wrapping my head around it. Don't get me wrong - I am VERY excited. Very. Very. Very. But it's a little bit of a shock to the system. Oh yeah, did I mention I found out I got the job at my interview today, and that I start tomorrow? Whee!

Anyway, as I've said, I am very excited about this. For some good articles on the studio click here or here. You can find us on Facebook and MySpace, and if you're looking to record (just about anything) at Northern California's top recording studio, just contact me!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

PCT Update

The hiker dudes have been having a rough week which resulted in a few days off, but as of about 7:30am, they're back out on the trail! Read all about it here, and leave a comment in the guestbook if you feel so inclined!

Clean House

So, as I mentioned, my mom and I went to IKEA, where I finally purchased my very own Grundtal ($14.99 online, $19.99 in the store - why?), and my Kitchen Conundrums are closer than ever to being solved! The spice cabinet situation is working swimmingly, and now my pots and pans are hanging prettily above the stove! It was quite a project getting it up there though. I used my stud finder and laser level, and still somehow it was super complicated. First, the laser level didn't provide a totally level line (though the little bubble was perfectly centered between the lines). I'm not sure what I was doing wrong, but even though it said it was level, when I stepped back to look at it, it most certainly was not! Then, when we finally made it mostly-level, and I was sure I had correctly marked the edges of the studs, we found more trouble! I used my biggest drill bit to drill holes for the plastic spacer things, but the holes were still too small. I made the holes bigger, but still the spacers wouldn't go all the way into the wall. I was using long screws though, so we decided that even though the shelf is not *perfectly* flush against the wall (the spacers are scrunched/squashed between the bracket of the shelf and the wall), it would be ok. And...after redoing 3 of the 4 worked! As you can see, I now have a lovely little shelf full of pots and pans! It took far too long, and I got far too frustrated, but I'm happy about it now. And, it's more shallow than I thought it would be, so it doesn't even make my kitchen look smaller.

This was just one of many projects for the weekend. I also installed a hanging pot lid rack and a plastic bag holder, but I didn't think those were exciting enough to warrant photos. They are useful though! The plastic bag holder is overflowing...who knew I had so many plastic bags?

The other major thing: my mom decided we should deep clean my apartment. I didn't really think it needed it, but isn't that the way with moms? :-) My floors have been triple-cleaned: A round with the dry Swiffer, some vacuuming for corners and baseboards, and a final scrub with my newly purchased Swiffer Wet Jet (works well, but that was a good $30 - too bad I didn't know about the $5 off coupon online). Mom did most of the floor cleaning...hey, it was her idea! She also scrubbed my counters with cleanser, washed all my dishes, and helped me clean my reading corner. I'm putting the bean bag chair in storage for now, and we moved the chair over so it's a little more spacious over there.

A little dark, but this is the new corner...

The inspiration for this? I went to clean a picture frame that was laying on the table, and I discovered a freshly hatched nest of spiders! What kind of spiders decide that a picture frame on my table is a good place for a nes?!?! Ugh. It was gross, and unsettling. Plus, there were cobwebs on the floor and in the corners that I couldn't reach regularly because of the beanbag - I guess my mom is right that it's easier to clean when there is less stuff on the floor...sigh. Moms always end up being right, don't they? Anyway, it's gone, and there is more floor. And I will try to be better about keeping things clean, because do I want to be a home for nesting spiders? NO WAY!

My plants have a new home over here as well, and I'm hoping they like this sunny corner (the dusty miller in particular - it is so sad and in need of sunshine). apartment is now clean and dust free, and I am ready for a nap! :)

More IKEA glory

My mom and I also went to IKEA this weekend...and I just loved this showroom display. The table with mismatched chairs, the floor-to-ceiling shelves, the wine just looks so homey. Ah, HouseLusting over displays at IKEA...

True Mosaics

My mom was in town this weekend, and since she is going to be teaching a mosaic class this summer, we visited the True Mosaics studio in Oakland. My favorite mosaics there were these ones made of found asphalt - I took a bunch of pictures (see slideshow), and I just thought they were really interesting. I thought about maybe taking a mosaic class, but boy is it pricey! I think I'll stick with my original idea of taking a 1-time pottery class at the Berkeley Potters' Studio. It's neat though...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Angel Food...Disc?



I attempted to make an angel food cake the other night, after offering to bring dessert to my friends' house and then realizing I had no eggs at home. Not willing to pay $4 a dozen at Berkeley Bowl (PS - why does BB West have cheap eggs, but regular BB does not? discuss.), I instead went with a $2.50 box of angel food cake mix. Just add water! Easy!

The instructions said not to use a pan smaller than 10"x4", and my pan was definitely 9"x3", but I decided to go for it, pouring some of the batter into silicone muffin cups. The angel food muffins came out great, actually. Not so much with the cake. It looked beautiful in the pan, and I even turned it out onto a glass bottle (ok, a drinking glass, but still) per the instructions. But alas, as it released its grasp on the inside of my cheap IKEA springform-pan-with-bundt-insert, it flattened. Flattened miserably. See photo. Oy. It sort of resembles a large, flat muffin with a hole in the middle.

It tasted great though, and I suppose that's all that matters. I didn't take a picture of the finished product, because we were so anxious to eat it, but Mark and Erin can vouch for its awesomeness. Blueberries, raspberries, stawberries from their garden. Guittard chocolate chips melted and sort of mashed/spread over the top. It was yum. We were on a train to flavortown, as Guy Fieri might say on DDD (one of new my favorite shows, fyi)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Sanctuary of a Yard

The rest of the house is kinda tiny (but wow, that kitchen!), but couldn't you just picture a peaceful little garden party out here? Kinda reminds me of my own yard, but with gorgeous trees.

The Trail Journal Has Begun!

Well, The Boy is officially hiking the PCT - they've completed a day and a half already, and he sounded chipper and excited when I talked to him this morning (the miracle of decent cell reception on the trail - and he leaves the phone off when he's not using it to save the battery).

I've posted the first entry in his trail journal, which I received on paper from his friend who drove them to the starting point, and he'll be posting more when they arrive in Etna around Sunday. If you want to read it, go to - I will be posting updates here as well.

The adventure is on!

Monday, July 6, 2009

PCT Head Shave

He shaved his head because hair + sunscreen + superconcentrated bug spray + sweat - showers = gross. Also, why not? Start out the new adventure with a clean slate...erm...head.

Though as he says, "Turns out, shaving your head doesn't make you braver."

Here are some pictures from the great event, plus a shot of him and his hiking partner getting ready to leave, showing off his ~45 pound pack :-) Note: his partner's pack weighs over 60 pounds! This is the most weight they will ever have to carry (the first stretch is the longest), but still. Oof!

PCT Packing

On Thursday July 2, we packed the first four resupply boxes for The Boy's hike. We had to mail them on Friday July 3 before the post office closed at noon, so the pressure was on! On Friday, we also packed the other six boxes, which are waiting at a friend's apartment (he is in charge of mailing the rest of the boxes). There is a complete itinerary that has been shared with everyone involved (thanks, Google Spreadsheets!), and my apartment is feeling quite empty. I've had an REI explosion in my apartment for the last few weeks; it's weird that it's all gone! Good weird, I's nice to have my space back, but it's kind of odd. We have spent so much time at REI and Any Mountain in the last few weeks, I may go through withdrawl. If you catch me wandering aimlessly around an outdoor adventure store, remind me there's more to life than buying camping gear and dehydrated food, ok? ;-)

Watch the embedded slideshow for a peek into our night/s of box-packing! Scroll down for a complete list of contents...note that the last 6 boxes carry food for The Boy and The Boy's "little" (6'7" tall) brother.

10 Boxes: Contents
Also: extra sunscreen, soap, and bug spray

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adventure Boy

The Boy just left for his 2-month PCT backpacking trip. I'll post a full update on the packing and dehydrated food and resupply boxes and shaved head later...and for anyone who is interested, I'll be posting a link to his trail journal. I'm going to tag all the PCT-related posts to make them easier to find if you want to read up on his trip.

If you live anywhere along the PCT, maybe you'll see him along the way :-)

For now, I'm going to do dishes and straighten up my empty-feeling apartment. More later.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Straw Bale House

Check out this awesome straw bale house! Yes, it is made with bales of straw! It is really neat looking, with uneven (ie: not all rigidly square) windows, and a general feeling of coziness and warmth. It looks like a wonderful little respite - I can just picture myself curling up all cozy on the window seat (see picture below) or napping on the patio.

I found out about it through Tracey Taylor, for whom I used to babysit. On her blog, she highlights some really great and interesting homes in the Bay Area, including this one. Check it out. It's cool.

For more info on the benefits of straw bale houses, see this Chronicle article.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Return of Mother's!

Trail Mixin'!

Since I am not currently employed, I'm helping The Boy prepare for his backpacking trip. Today, I mixed up 12 bags of trail mix. We planned on 1 gallon sized bag per week - he's going to be gone for almost 7 weeks, and his brother (for whom he is buying food) will be on the trail for 3. Since Bro is 6'7" and eats about twice as much as an average person, we figured approx. 5 weeks of trail mix would cover him for his 3 weeks on the trail. Thus, 12 weeks (12 1-gallon bags) total. Math!

Last night, we went to the new West Berkeley Bowl because their bulk section is much nicer than the one at the "old" Berkeley Bowl.

Our booty:
roasted salted cashews
roasted salted pecans
honey roasted pecans
roasted salted peanuts
dried apple rings
golden raisins
dark raisins
dried cranberries
Guittard mini chocolate chips
roasted salted pistachios
dried apricots
orange cranberry granola

Check out the crazy amount of nuts. That's a LOT of nuts!

Since (according to The Boy's much more complicated math...ok, it was basic math, but lots of it), he will still be low on daily calories, we're going to add some M&Ms and perhaps dried blueberries and more granola as well. Personally, I think this is pretty fun! :-)

12 bags weighing 2.5 lbs each

I actually *almost* perfectly divided them up when I made them. One was 3 lbs, one was 2 lbs, and I just scooped .5 lb out of one and into the other. Oh yes, such complicated work...but I was pretty impressed that 10/12 bags were exactly the same weight!

PS - HOLYCOWGUITTARD. Guittard chocolate is amazing. WAY better than any other chocolate chip I have ever tasted. From now on, I will be buying chocolate chips in bulk. Sorry Trader Joe's and Nestle, but these are just way better.

PPS - this is not *technically* cooking/baking, but I'm categorizing it there anyway.