Monday, May 23

Y'all want some privacy?

While we were at Travertine hot springs, we had three different people or groups of people offer us privacy. Just because we're three young naked people in a hot spring, doesn't mean we're being kinky. Everyone else was naked. Why did these people find us weird to be around?

knitty mcknitsalot

I've been knitting up a storm on this trip. I finally finished the fishnet arm warmers I started in Thailand (that was back in January, for those not keeping track). Unfortunately they're two different colors at the moment as one of them got so dirty and bleached by the sun in Thailand. I didn't really like the pale blue anyway, so I think I'll just bleach them both and then attempt to dye them with beet juice.

Still left on the needles is "Under the Hoodie," a hooded sweater pattern from Stitch 'N' Bitch. This was started back when it was cold in November. I've made so much progress the past week that it actually looks like a sweater. Ok, so maybe it's more like a tunic at the moment, but still. I've been messing with the pattern to avoid sewing seams, which I know I will hate. I did the shoulders with kitchner stitch, undoing the binding off (that's when you take the thing off the needles) to avoid sewing the curling in bound off edges. And for the sleeves, the pattern tells you to knit them flat then sew a seam up the arm to make them round and then to sew them to the sweater. Well, I'm going to instead, pick up stitches from around the upper part of the sweater and then knit in the round (using these cool short circular needles I picked up in South Tahoe) so I won't have to sew any seams at all for the sleaves. The only seams left to actually sew will be the sides of the sweater.

This yarn shop (often abbreviated LYS for local yarn store) in South Tahoe was a trip. The lady in there was super nice and super chatty. She had a cute little Shitzu with crazy long hair and when Adam asked if she had ever accidently knitted him into something she was making she told us to wait a minute and she disappeared into the back room. We all look at each other with that look of "oh my god, what are we about to see?" She returns and tells us of the shitzu she used to have, Sosumi (named by her attorney husband, say it out loud, So sue me). It was her baby, she loved it so, it got sick and so she began to collect the hair from it's daily brushings for a year. Sent them to this company who sent her back a ball of yarn that is 60% Sosumi hair. Creepy, eh?

Sunday, May 22

Lotus of Siam

Last night, we had a food adventure! I'd read about Lotus of Siam on Chowhound, apparently a singular reason to visit Vegas. So we go out and try it. Everything I'd read, suggested not ordering, but letting the staff pick for you. Thankfully Adam was so hungry, he was willing to go along with this plan. We tell the waiter that we don't eat meat (as it's not sustainable there) but we're willing to eat the catfish (as most catfish is farmed which is sustainable, well, for catfish anyway, definitely not for salmon). I digress. We tell him we want a soup, a salad, a fish entree and a noodle dish. Every dish arriving was a surprise! And every dish was excellent all with different flavors going on. A hot and sour soup with bright sour lime-esque flavors and mild spicyness, a tofu salad with perfectly fried pieces of tofu on a bed of crisp lettuce, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes topped with a spicy dressing and loads of mint, the catfish was blackened and grilled, topped with a spicy cilantro and red onion stuff. That one was hot, but fresh and oh so good. And then noodles the big fat ones. Topped with sauteed veggies and mint. Dear lord. Oh and dessert. A coconut ice cream, which wasn't made with any dairy, just frozen condensed coconut milk on top of sweet sticky rice. h\Hot and cold. Sweet and textured.

Saturday, May 21

You need more melon

We've left the heat of Saline Valley, escaping the flies. It took us 10 hours to make it to Vegas. We stopped in Pantamint Valley to eat some sandwiches and use the bathrooms, but didn't buy anything there as it's the first stop for miles and it's crazy expensive. Gas was $3.15/gallon for the lowest grade. We continued on to Stovepipe Wells and stopped again. It was bloody hot. 104 degrees. We bought cold drinks, some toffee pretzels and Juli got a beautiful ring. The guy behind the counter very shy with Adam commented under his breath how he'd like to come out and two step with me as I must have been dancing around. When Juli and I went up to purchase aforementioned items he was very chatty with us. Commenting on how I had a lot of energy calling me "square dancer" and the two of us "young ladies" which always makes us chuckle. We told him we'd come from Saline and how it was too hot for us. He said "well, it's summer. You just have to take things slow and easy." Even his manner of talking was slow and laid back. As we were walking out the door, he was warning us about sun exposure. Telling the fair skinned Juli "you need more melon. be sure you wear plenty of sun block and stay in the shade." To Adam and I, more olive skinned, "Y'all should wear sun block too. Even I do and I'm pretty dark." Clearly, as he's a black guy. He was very amusing. Next stop was Furnace Creek to buy the national parks pass Adam and Juli will use across the country and then on to Shoshone, Ca. Town of one gas station and two restaurants. But one of these restaurants I'd read about on Chowhound, Cafe C'est Si Bon. A vegetarian internet cafe. We had mangolada smoothies. Mango, banana, pineapple and coconut milk. Drool. I want another one now. It was so good. Then we went out back to pet Pizza, their Vietnamese pig. Very bizarre. Finally 10 and a half hours after leaving Saline, we arrived at my aunt's house in Las Vegas, baby, Vegas. This visit is going to be much different than the previous one, thank goodness. Agenda is knitting, reading, swimming and watching movies.

Job Drought

Sigh. So I didn't get the Backroads job. Fine. But then I checked my voice mail in Big Pine, Ca, just before we entered the road to Saline and I had a voice mail from The Edible Schoolyard. They've already filled the position. :-( I'm really bummed. I still have the Global Footprint interview on Tuesday. I'm assuming they'll give me an offer, which I guess I'll take, because I need an income, though I'd love to spend the rest of the summer hiking and traveling. And in being the eternal optimist, the job does that it's perks. I'll be doing geeky type stuff working with SQL and databases, which I really liked at my old job. And this job, I won't be working for the man. I'll be working for a company that's promoting sustainability. And, they all eat lunch together every day. A lunch that's home cooked in the office with a big salad. One more thing is that I can bike to work! Maybe once I've started making some money, I should get a better bike, one with gears.

So that's the update.

Friday, May 20

Valley of the Heat

We're out in Saline Valley and it's fucking hot. Excuse my language, but we're talking 95 in the shade. 104+ outside. Everyone says, "oh, but it's dry heat." Dry my ass. I'm drenched in sweat. And angry apparently.

It is beautiful. I took a short walk this morning when it was cool (at 6 am) and it was beautiful. The sun hadn't yet risen over the mountains in the east and the western mountains were glowing pink. There are lizzards everywhere, some are green, others rock colors. Small little chipmunk type creatures and last night 4 wild burroughs walked past our camp.

The drive out here, 40 miles of washboard (meaning it takes 3 hours to go 40 miles), was also beautiful. There are still tons of wild flowers out here. And this time I had my camera!!! Woo hoo. Two and a half rolls shot so far.

Flat Tire #1

I'm an optimist. Always have been. Can't imagine myself any other way. But, that said, I'm also a realist. And while I'd like to hope we won't have another flat tire, I'd say odds are against us. We got our first one this afternoon. Just barely into the dirt road part of the ride down into the Saline Valley, our next destination, where we plan to spend several days, camped in one spot. However, as luck would have it, we're back in Big Pine. Camped at a lovely camp ground, rushing streams, much smaller than the American, but still making that lovely rushing water sound and it's warm. A constant breeze, but it's not cold, not at all. I"m sleeping outside tonight, next to the river, under the stars and moon. Yay!

Anyhow, like I said we got a flat. And it wasn't a simple puncture wound. More like a half inch gash that the tire repair kit couldn't mend. So we turned around. We're hoping to have the tire fixed first thing in the morning so we can attempt the drive in once more. It's a pretty rough road, washboard for miles. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, May 17

Apparently, gasoline is inflammable

We made the journey from Sacramento down to a lovely camp ground along the American River (see my previous post on my glorious hike down to said river) in Kyburz, Ca. It was very dark when we got there and all we could hear was the river roaring. In the morning we saw it raging by. I don't know rapid classes, but these were at least a III. The kind older couple that runs the camp ground said that the river is 7' higher than usual. And from the amount of snow yet to fall, it appears it's only going to get higher. A bit of a concern for them as it appears that the campground could flood. I love sleeping with river noise though and so it made for a great night, except that it was cold. I packed lightly, thinking only of us being in Death Valley, where temperatures are already in the 100s. However, as we were driving towards South Tahoe, we were awed by the beauty of snow falling from trees. The highest elevation we hit was 7,500', I can still see snow in the mountains around us. Yeah! I love snow. However, with no snow gear that rules out any snow hiking or cross country skiing. Not that I know how to xcountry ski, but I could learn.

Anyway, from Kyburz, we continued to highway 395 and began our journey south. We made it as far as Bridgeport, Ca, where the Travertine hot springs are. Our first soak in hot springs, thus far. Wonderful, gorgeous, beautiful. We set up camp back on BLM land about a half mile down from the springs, which apparently are not on BLM lands anymore and therefore you can't legally camp there. Whatever, half mile away isn't bad. So we set up camp and the plan for dinner is to bbq hamburgers and sweet potato wedges. They have a small grill, we have charcoal brickettes from Whole Foods, some paper to try lighting them with in an attempt to avoid using lighter fluid or other chemicals. So, the hunt for the lighters begins. In all the reorganization that has happened in the past few days, this takes quite a while. But finally two lighters are produced. We light the paper, which almost immediately burns out without catching the coals on fire. Add more paper, grab some dry sticks and try again. Unfortunately, for some reason unbeknownst to us, now neither of the lighters are working. And there are no matches to be found. Hrmph. At this point I'm willing to give in and have sandwiches for dinner. Adam refuses to be beat by this though. In shifting the coals around, he discovers that one did catch and is still glowing. We attempt to use it to ignite tp. This should be easy right? But there are Adam and I blowing on this coal, holding paper to it and nothing. Adam decides it's time to pull out the heavy artillery and grabs the gas can. He soaks a piece of paper bag and we hold the glowing coal to said paper. Again, nothing. What the fuck? By this point, the coal is no longer glowing. So now, we stack more coals and paper, douse the whole thing in gasoline and Adam rigs up the jumper cables to the battery. Handing me the fire extinguisher, he touches the other two ends together producing a shower of sparks. Thankfully none of the bushes surrounding us caught on fire, but then again, neither did our gas soaked items. I'll say again, what the fuck?! More gas, more sparks. Then a piece of wire between the two cable ends which glows red hot, finally WOOSH, we have made fire! At around 9, we enjoy our burgers and a few of the sweet potatoes. The potatoes could have used a lot longer on the grill, but it was cold, windy and we were hungry.

ESY interview

So my interview is a week from tomorrow at The Edible Schoolyard and given that this is the job I'd really like to have, i've been thinking about it incessantly and I won't get back to Oakland until the day of the interview, I'm trying to learn as much about the program as I can, and will be making my notes here. If anyone has any thing that they would like to add, please do.

Essential Job Duties
Cooking Instruction in the Kitchen Classroom
-Sustainable Food and Supplies Procurement
-Direction, Communication, Leadership, and Personality
-Facilities Management and Maintenance

Essential Job Skills
The ESY Assistant Chef Teacher has a thorough knowledge of regional California seasonality and a strong commitment to supporting local organically grown food. Experience working with adolescents is a must, grounded in an uncompromising dedication to advocacy for youth.

Successful teaching in the Kitchen Classroom requires a captivating, clear, and comfortable public speaker, with awareness of food justice and ecological literacy.

Diversity at the school.
How much time is spent in the kitchen and in the garden, for both the students and I.
Who will I be working with?
Will I get to write my own lesson plans?

Things I would like to research:
-Ability to understand and articulate the reasoning behind sustainable procurement.
-Ability to research, plan, execute, and document recipes that are seasonal, fresh, economical, and from scratch.
-Ability to create and use recipes that can be successfully prepared with students in a class setting and that translate to students’ home kitchens.
(those last two I can do, I would just like to have some examples)

And things that I would like to learn over the summer should I get this job.
A bit of Spanish. Mucho de un pocito.
Going to work on a sustainable farm (the one up outside of Vancouver that was my favorite, with all the heirloom tomatoes)

Wildlife Sightings

Well, we're still in Sacramento. Fair Oaks, technically, the far east side of Sacto. I just got back from a lovely hike/walk (when do you differentiate, what is the difference?) Juli says hiking is strenuous walking. But I certainly wouldn't say that power walkers were hiking. And today I was walking at a good clip on an unpaved trail, so was I hiking? I digress... as always.

I started my walk (it was definitely a walk at that point) at Steiner College. They have some really beautiful buildings with architecture that includes loads of sky lights and some really full veggie gardens. But there wasn't much active hiking to be done there, so I headed over to Bannister Park. The beginning of my walk/hike I saw a big bird, bigger than a crow, longer body that was black with bright blue on its wings and a white tail (according to Hans, this is a magpie). Further out on the trail, I almost squished a lizzard painted like a snake. It was cool. Once I got down to the American River, which is big and wide and flows at a good clip, I saw a big fish, about 2 feet long. On the walk back I saw some grey squirrels (boring, I know) and a huge bird, wild turkey, mmm, good eating. Strange, I know, but possible. Anyway it was a really pretty walk full of neat stuff to look at, yay!

Monday, May 16

Epic Journey

I am very honored to be joining my dear friends Adam and Juli as they start a new adventure. They have now put all their stuff into storage down in Santa Cruz, loading only the items they deemed absolutely necessary into their VW Synchro Vanagan and are traveling around the United States, camping, hiking, seeing what there is to see. The journey began in a rented house in Guernville where 14 of us congregated to celebrate the beginning of A's 29th year. It was a weekend of eating and hot tubbing, with a brief interlude down by the Russian River. Now we've made it as far as Sacramento. We'll spend tonight relaxing and then tomorrow running errands, hopefully tomorrow night we'll have made camp near some hot springs. The rest of the next week will be spent in Death Valley National Park, we'll be starting in Saline Valley.

As for job stuff, well, the Backroads interview went really well. Or I thought it did, anyway. But much to my shock, I was not offered a position. Hrmph. Well, most likely I'd have turned them down, but still, it was surprising not to get the offer. So now it's between Backroads and the Edible Schoolyard. Between those two I really want the Edible Schoolyard job. I interview on the 24th. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 11

It's raining jobs, hallelujah

Ok, so not so much jobs as interviews which will hopefully lead to job offers. Yesterday I had a phone interview with Backroads which is a travel adventure company. Think biking tours through Spain or California wine country, backpacking trips through the Canadian Rockies, etc. Benefits of working for them - someone else is paying for my travel. I get to do all the outdoor traveling that I missed out on in my formative years. Downside, working long hours with people who probably aren't all that outdoorsy, the pay is such that you're paid when you're on the road and when you're not they give you housing, so I'd have to move out of my lovely house, with my lovely housemate just when I'm beginning to feel settled. However, if we don't find a third housemate sometime soon... Ugh. I really don't want to move again. Besdies that for completely selfish reasons, I have a lot planned for this summer, weddings, my grandmother's 80th birthday party, things I just don't want to have to miss out on. So maybe joining backroads now is not the best of ideas. But then, when am I going ot be at this place in my life again that I can do something like this. I mean, who likes to travel more than I do? Ok, so maybe I have one friend who does, but really, we're a rare breed. And introducing people to new places, new parts of the world.

Ok, next job, with the Edible Schoolyard!!!
The Edible Schoolyard, in collaboration with Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, provides urban public school students with a one-acre organic garden and a kitchen classroom. Using food systems as a unifying concept, students learn how to grow, harvest, and prepare nutritious seasonal produce. Experiences in the kitchen and garden foster a better understanding of how the natural world sustains us, and promote the environmental and social well being of our school community
I got an interview for the assistant teacher position. Teaching kids about eating healthy, growing their own food, living sustainably and summers off. I keep going back and forth about which is the job that I really want. Ugh.

Last job, Global Footprintnetwork, I think this one I've mentioned before as I interviewed with the company on April 7th! Ok, that was a long time ago. They want me to come in for one last interview and assuming I were to get the job, to then start immediately. This is the tech job, I'd be programming again, but this time working towards sustainability. However, this job is lowest in personal excitement level.

I go to a hiring event for Backroads tomorrow, then on May 24th I interview with both the Edible Schoolyard and Global Footprint Network. Friday, I leave for a weekend up in Healdsburg where 15 of us will be in a rented house for Adam's birthday :) Then I head out to Death Valley with Adam and Juli as they begin their Roadtrip USA. I fly back to meet my sister in Oakland on the 24th, right, same day as the interviews.

Friday, May 6

Universal Cafe

I had a stunning meal last night. Bold words for a foodie snob like myself, but it was really great. Starting with a menu with the day's date printed on it (follow this out to the logical conclusion that the menu changes daily). Organic veggies, sustainably raised meats. We order a Sinskey 2000 Merlot, that was light in body for a merlot, not oaky at all, but with a full taste, very little tanins.

We start with a hearts of romain salad. Typically, I eschew romain, because really it's just one step away from iceberg lettuce. The salad was huge, including an entire heart of romain, still in one piece and therefore only had dressing on the outer most layer, reducing it to my traditionally snubbed, plain lettuce. But the plate was also covered in huges chunks of feta, sugar snap peas and an herbed lemon vinegrette. Personally, I found the vinagrette lacking umph, but the fresh herbs were plentiful, the peas so very sweet and crisp and the chunks of feta tangy compensating for the lack in the vinagrette.

Also, a nice touch was that there was a small bowl (think mis en place size) of coarse salt on the table and when the salad arrived we were given our own pepper grinder. I hate restaurants that are conceited enough to think that everything they serve you is going to be perfectly seasoned to your unique tastes. However, that said, I never touched the salt and used the pepper grinder only on my salad. I appreciate even more that they were there and I didn't have to use them.

Back to the meal. Entrees, braised rabbit for me, pan seared salmon for my date. I hate cooked salmon, so I can't really critique his plate. But it did come with fresh beets, again super sweet bleeding brightly onto his plate and rice and those perfect thin young asparagus. The salmon was cooked to have a nice crust, but this seemed to have resulted in salmon that wasn't as opaque as he'd have wanted. My rabbit also had a nice crust, just a slight crunch as you bite into the super tender meat. This was served with garlicy sauteed artichoke hearts (clearly fresh, not canned, given their color) and hand cut pasta. Dear god, I love homemade pasta and this was among the best I've ever had.

No room for dessert, though of course, I had to see what they offered. One fruit (rhubarb strawberry cobbler), one chocolate torte, an ice cream and a panne cotte. Plus a $2 piece of biscotti. I love that they give you a cheap option for dessert. If I'd have had anymore room, I'd gone with an ice wine and biscotti.

All this said, I hope to return, something I never say about a place. For those of you who'd like to check it out, it's at 2418 19th St @ Bryant, San Francisco.


I've re-installed gallery on my original website making a much easier format for viewing pictures. Check it out PhotoBug.

Tuesday, May 3

Exploding Chocolate Cows!!!

I'm making a sample wedding cake to practice for Minnie and Vim's wedding. I decided to make the chocolate glaze in the food processor as I was going to use it to chop the chocolate anyway. Turns out that little plastic gate thing is really important for keeping hot molten chocolate inside the food processor container. Really.


1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
2. An act or instance of such falseness.

Scene: Berekely Bowl - a local, co-op, predominately organic, whole grain foods. Long line for the check out, typical.

Lady talking with clerk - blah, blah, I eat only organic, blah. "It tastes so much better. So much richer, when your food is all organic. My children and I never get sick. People complain about how much more expensive it is, but when you look at what they're spending at the doctors, I'm paying for my health!"

Clerk: "Yeah, I've been interested in getting started with that. What do you think I should start with?"

Lady: "All your dairy products and produce. Compare the taste of a non-organic tomato to an organic tomato. You'll see. Plus, you'll be so much healthier. And really when you think about it, who wants to be supporting all those chemicals?"

Clerk: "Paper or plastic?"

Lady: "Plastic. And could you double bag it?"

Monday, May 2


I've had an active few days. Thursday, I hiked around Land's End taking photos with Will. Friday I roamed around part of Lake Merrit (where I found the aforementioned Fairy Land!) and my favorite local haunt, the Mt. View cemetary. (Oh, I'm so punny, I kill myself.) Saturday 7 of us did the 10 mile (roundtrip) trek out to Tomales Point, the northern most tip of Point Reyes. Beautiful. And then yesterday I danced my booty off at the How Weird Street festival. I love, love, love dancing in the daylight. It was grand! And I got to play with Will's camera again. The goal for this week is to get my photo gallery back up and running.