Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 was a hit. It was our first year hosting and cooking and we had a blast.

String Beans

We had sooooo much food. I learned leftovers are good, but there can be too much of a good thing sometimes.

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I loved setting the table. So glad I made those darned cloth napkins earlier this year. They came in super handy. And the tablecloth is something I bought in St. Louis–it was going to be a new bedspread. I think I prefer it as a table cloth.

table

We had a last minute addition of 2 and 2 halves and were able to squeeze everyone in by pushing the couch up to the table on the end. The other random seats we used included our plastic patio chairs. It was fun and I’m pretty sure no one minded. At least they didn’t say if they did.

Taters

I think I’ll amend the previous assertion of too many left overs being bad. You can never have too many left over potatoes. I made potato cakes with the leftovers until we ran out. 🙁 Not as good as when my mom makes them for me, but still pretty darn tasty.

Soup veggies

I am amazed at how effortlessly our kitchen cleaned up after the feast. It did take 3 very full dishwasher loads to clean all of the dishes, but it was such a breeze. Thank goodness for everyone pitching in–it makes things much easier and more fun!

OMG cupcakes!!

And our friends came over early to bring us a huge sandwich to share–who thinks of this?? and dress their cupcakes. They painted chocolate on leaves they found and then removed the leaves when the chocolate hardened. They made the acorns by rolling carmel squares and dipping them in chocolate and then chocolate sprinkles. It was the most amazing dessert I’ve ever seen. And it was quite tasty too! We also got some Super Mario time in on the Wii.

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by people you love.

^_^

Whirlwind

I hate how quickly Sunday afternoon comes. Especially when I’ve had a fun week off! Though Art Camp isn’t exactly drudgery…

This week we were invited to tour some local wineries with some friends. My favorite winery was our first–I hate when that happens. I always hope to work up to the best, but alas Byington was very nice. They were super-close to our place–less than 45 minutes–and super friendly.

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The owner actual poured our tasting and he was very fun to talk with. Their Chardonnay was different than any I’ve had before. I think it was my favorite. It was sweeter than I’m used to. They also had a fabulous ’04 Cabernet that were offering as an “economic stimulus package” that was excellent. The price was awesome too!

<brief rant>We waited 20-25 minutes at another winery we were hoping would be our first stop and then were rudely told they weren’t interested in having tastings because they were doing inventory and we ought to scram. Okay, maybe they weren’t that mean, but they weren’t exactly inviting either. Don’t bother calling–they don’t answer their phone.</brief rant>

We also visited a few other wineries and ended up at Picchetti winery which is super-close to where Eric did his practice triathlon before Wildflower. They were also a favorite. The tasting room guy was helpful and nice. We ended up sharing a Tempranillo with some yummy bread and cheese after tasting here.

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Testarossa winery. They were okay–I enjoyed the history of the winery, though.

100_0976Picchetti

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After tasting our friends took us to a new place to them and us for dinner. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the building by where we parked. Hee hee.

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The Spankme Building

Dinner was super swanky. It was really good. We didn’t finish until around 9 then headed home. It was a great, long day getting to know new friends. We all left sleepy and content.

My week also involved some working out–yay my ankle is starting to feel better! Eric and I walked The Dish. Next we’re going to try to run-walk and eventually run the entire thing. It is super-hilly. We went for a bike ride, too.

We enjoyed some 4th of July fireworks at some other friends’ house and got up on their roof to see the shows. We could see shows all down the peninsula and some across the bay. It was a beautiful night. We had a lot of fun.

Today, Eric chilled like I haven’t seen him chill in a long time. He read a bit, and fell asleep on the couch. He watched a movie, and fell asleep on the couch. He then read some more and played on his computer, and fell asleep on the couch some more.

I moved around some furniture. I love my new reading area! I usually read in bed and that means I read very little, get sleepy and nap. Hopefully this new set-up will be more conducive to actually reading!

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Now I’m trying to figure out how things might play out this next week. I’m feeling frustrated about some of my decisions–but not sure if my frustrations are “in my head” or valid. Seems like a continuing saga in my life. C’est la vie. It isn’t life or death or even all that serious.

Peace!

Updates

Well, when you see that title you can expect a text-heavy, picture-shy post.

Ice Cream Tasting–Well it was fun. Unfortunately that’s all I can say since I signed a non-disclosure or some other type of “keep your mouth shut this could be top secret food stuff” form. And since I liked “working” by tasting and ranting/raving about ice cream and getting a bit of money in return–I plan on keeping quiet.

The Weekend–Part I: Eric Graduated–Friday was Eric’s graduation day. We didn’t really realize it until half-way through the day. We still managed to make it out to eat for dinner and had a nice time celebrating. I feel like everywhere I turn around I am hearing about St. Germain, an elderberry liquour so I was tickled to find it on the cocktail menu of the restaurant we went to. It was tasty mixed with champagne and in a bubbly flute. I’d recommend it. It seemed strangely appropriate that I drank it considering they harvest the elderberries on bikes and biking is how we started out our Saturday.

The Weekend–Part II: Biking–We decided to go for a long bike ride on Saturday. I heard rumors that it was going to be in the three-hour range, but tried not to think about it and therefore avoid freaking out too much. But we rode, and rode, and rode. Into fog, out of fog. Up lots of slow inclines. And down a few fast descents. My seat got moved  a half  of an inch up about half-way through and my knees were quite grateful–I didn’t realize my seat wasn’t properly adjusted. My seat can go up some more yet. My seat also did this nifty thing where it pivoted up while I was speeding down a long decent. That was special. Thankfully, Eric knew how to fix it with his fancy tool that he keeps in his fancy saddlebag and we continued on our merry ways without injury. At the end of the ride we were just about at 36 miles. It was a doozy. We’re going to do a twenty or so mile segment of it tomorrow so I can start to kick more butt on hills instead of cursing under my breath.

The Weekend–Part III: BBQs–Our weekend consisted of BBQs. We partied with Eric’s aunt and uncle, their dogs, and wayward cat on Saturday night. Yummy tri tip on the grill. Sunday we met up with some other honored teammates and other Team in Training friends for another BBQ. Corn tortillas and steak. Monday was yet another BBQ tri tip, chicken and other yummy things. We did lots of meeting new friends, talking with old ones, eating and having a relaxing time.

The Weekend–Part IV: BBQ–Eric finally cashed in on his Christmas gift and is now the proud owner of rather large propane grill. It supposedly can fit up to 44 burgers at once. When we test it out, I’ll let you know.

The Weekend–Part V: Sewing–Sewing  has been a rather frusterating endeavor lately. I stocked up on some Simplicity patterns thinking maybe I could start my design off of them. This is the basis for the shirt. Um, can you say matronly?? Maybe it is because I’m not a model size, perhaps it is because the sketch isn’t as fitted, I dunno. It was a big disappointment. Try two is a bust. My next try will probably just include eyeballing it and cutting it out straight-away like I did for my red butterfly shirt. We’ll see.

One of the other patterns I bought was this. I have a muslin cut, so we’ll see how it goes. It has only three pieces to sew–plus a few more for facings. It looks like it’ll be a super-quick sew if it passes the muslin test.

I feel quite stuck with sewing. In school we only focused on sewing for a model size. So I can do that pretty well. I feel comfortable with pattern manipulation and everything–as long as it is a model size. I didn’t learn how to sew for “real people.” Especially myself–so whenever I start down that road I get immensely frustrated or disappointed. What do you do that works?

The Weekend–Part VI: Back to Work–Well my summer job has taken another turn. The camp I was supposed to teach at never received much public interest, only a few people registered. Instead the site will be closed and I’ll move to another site. I’m not sure if I’ll get some hours cut or what else might happen. It is disappointing for sure. I’m considering typing up some fliers offering sewing lessons. That could be an nice way to get more work.

This evening we had a “Rome Night” at school to end our study of Rome. There were lots of togas, and a potluck. I think eating seems to be a recurring theme in my life. Good thing I love food. It was fun.

The rest of the week will be steadily busy with school, training–I may have signed up for another Team in Training triathlon, and volunteering at Maker’s Faire. I’m very excited to help out and get some behind the scenes looks at the event. I’ll keep you posted.

Peace!

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Wow, so much for my week-long hiatus. Spring Break came and went quickly. We spent most of last week in St. Louis, and here we are almost half-way through this week. Instead of figuring out what to share from the past, I’m going to jump right in with today.

Seeing as it was my turn to cook lunch, and still having Kath’s yummy-looking Calzones last night fresh on my mind, I decided I’d try my hand at my own. Eric and I both abhor fresh spinach–we’ve eatten eaten (will I ever learn to spell?) way to many terribly bland spinach salads of our own making and immediately start gagging at the thought of anything with fresh spinach. Yet, I’m determined to eat my fruits and vegetables so I continue to buy spinach at the store. Here’s a photo journey of our spinach/mushroom calzones. Yummy and easy–especially with pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s!

100_0795Spinach with a glob of minced garlic and some olive oil.

100_0796Dirty mushrooms. They were rinsed thoroughly, especially since
I’ve been to Morgan Hill and smelled what mushrooms grown in–Ew!

100_0797Mild Cheddar and Monterrey Jack and the best cheese
grater ever–from Ikea.

100_0799Perfectly grated cheese.

100_0801Cooked mushrooms, garlic, non-salt spices, and spinach
with marinara. I mixed it all together and heated it some more.

100_0800Dough warming up to room temperature.

100_0802Calzone 1 cut in half.

100_0803Calzone 2 oozing and cooling.

Success. Now we’re off to swim. It has been in the mid-fifties here. While that is a nice temperature, it is awfully cold when exiting an outdoor heated pool onto a windy hilltop!

Peace.

Testing Out Tofu

I didn’t realize how cheap tofu is! I think it was around $1.25 for all this tofu! Crazy. I really wanted to make this recipe, but I couldn’t find coconut at Trader Joe’s. So I asked around and was too impatient for a response and made it my way. I dried the tofu between some paper towels and coated it in Soy Vey Very Very Teriyaki.

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Here’s the Teriyaki bottle. Yum, it is local to San Francisco too.

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I popped them in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Thank God, I read the part about putting Pam on the cookie sheet.

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Um, yeah. It is as bad as it looks. Thankfully, the tofu came up fine and tasted okay, but the cookie sheet is nasty. I’m hoping the dishwashing fairies have pity on me and that soaking this in water and dish soap will loosen up everything. We’ll see.

Sarai, sent me this tofu suggestion. I definitely plan on trying this out.

In other news, I’ve been devouring Shane Claiborne’s books. I read Irresistible Revolution last week and finished it yesterday. I started Jesus for President, but haven’t gotten too far. I’ve made it to the gym two afternoons in a row, and been heading to bed earlier because of it.

I’m also determined to get moving on some of my UFOs (unfinished objects). There are too many to count. Here is the lay out for the denim skirt muslin. Yay!

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Not much to look at, but closer to a skirt! Also, my parents are finally coming to visit in March. They had tickets to come in December, but my grandfather’s stroke happened. I’m excited to introduce my dad to my new home and work on further home decorating with my mom. There is also the obligatory visit to the Winchester Mystery House. Eric has already opted out of this. He says it is all just too mysterious. I love it. What a fun, crazy, silly story and weird house to go with it.

Since I started knitting socks on the unplanned trip to Texas in December, I figured I needed to get them at least to the point where I can work on the heel with my mom in town. She’s a pro–having made 2 or 3 pairs already. I got out my knitting for the first time since I’ve been back tonight. I’ve never knitted at home. I’m quickly realizing why. There is nary a moment when the yarn isn’t flossing Scotch’s teeth, or he’s using a knitting needle like a toothpick. What a nut. It is too cute, but not conducive to knitting. Here’s how far I’ve come so far.

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I’m relieved that I remembered how to knit/purl okay. I’ll just have to figure out how to knit without Scotch’s “help.”

I’m enjoying a glass of wine, but not the hiccups I’ve had for the past thirty minutes. I haven’t given something up for lent in a long time. This year, I plan to forgo alcohol and sodas. Should be interesting–It always is.

Peace,

Katy ^_^

Cleaning, Cooking and Cloth Napkins

Here’s the Cleaning Part

I must be becoming a little Martha Stewart. Here’s a new year’s resolution to mark off the list. I went through my undergarments. Which may sound racy, but tights with no stretch left and slips from when I was eight don’t really count as racy. For some reason I hoard these things. Probably because I wear tights/hose and use slips rarely. But I shove them all in this little plastic drawer thingie and it isn’t pretty. Here’s the after shot. Yay, I feel much better about what I have.

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Here’s the Cooking Part

My friend Tiffany came over and we made jam-filled, heart-shaped cookies. Yum. She is definitely a pro at the cookie cutting.

100_0499100_0502They taste as good as they look. I wrapped up all the hearts to sell at a bake sale benefitting the kitties I help care for on Tuesday nights. That leaves some bars for the person I borrowed the cookie cutters from, and some for us. Yum!

Here’s the Cloth Napkin Part

I’m working on a simple sewing project. The fabric is cool, because Eric picked it out when we first got married. He wanted me to teach him how to sew and was going to make me a skirt. Since it has been over four and a half years, he decided I could use the fabric in another way. I’m making some cloth napkins. I’ll post a photo when I finish. I found this site, and want to try this for the corners. Looks so simple, but we’ll see.

Peace,

Katy

Updates

Here is a photo of one of Eric’s delicious creations this week. He grilled NY Strip Steak, made a curry sauce with Splenda, yellow curry, and soy milk, and added crisp French green beans on top. Yum.

Here’s what the sewing room looked like right before Eric video-taped me sewing. He is planning a Nooma-inspired video for the Wednesday Advent services. I’ll try to post it once the video is finished or after the advent service.

There was a birthday today. So I wrapped up one of those chocolate bars. Yum!

Lastly, I finished my draft. Here’s me taking self-portraits while standing on our bathtub. The skirt is a bit difficult to make out since it is flesh-colored.

I didn’t iron so… But I think it’ll work. I

Also, we finally got Eric’s test results in. They are better than July’s. So we’re celebrating. It is so difficult though. He earned a black belt at 16, and was a varsity wrestler, so he is no stranger to working hard. Yet, he gets winded so quickly when we work out together. It is hard to see how weak his body has gotten. Also, he gets sick a little over half of the time he eats. Which is difficult for him. It is hard to watch. And, when we’re out socially it is difficult to explain that to others.  Sigh.

Peace,

Katy ^_^

Catching Up

Here’s me working on a Frida-inspired something special for Kelli.

I’m putting it in the mail tomorrow. Really!

Tonight’s dinner is one of my favorite meals!

Cabbage Salad

Cabbage, Red Bell Pepper, Mandarin Oranges, Avocado, Toasted Almonds, and a dressing of Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Fresh Ground Pepper. Yummy!

In other news, Eric and I joined a gym today! We’re planning on our first class–spin–tomorrow evening!

Peace,

^_^

Doing, Doing, Done…

Here’s a sneak peak.

I promise Eric he could take the pictures of me modeling the outfit. By his reaction you’d think he had just won the lottery.

The Arg… Yippee!!! lists are filling up. I’m not sure it is super-productive, but am not yet ready to bail out. I generally quit things very prematurely.. Hrm.. 🙂

Eric and I have been enjoying homemade lemonade lately. Sparkling water, powdered sugar, lemon juice and ice cubes. Feels like summer is just starting.

The photo of the Eiffel Tower is one of my aunt’s.

Peace,

^_^

Never Ending Vacation

So it feels like I’ve been on a vacation since June 4th when we drove out of St. Louis. Since we’ve been in California we’ve been bunking in a relative’s pool house. We’re being spoiled silly and I’m not about to complain.

What a sweet treat after all the hurdles graduate school sent our way: Eric’s cancer, a close friend’s electrocution/death, unfulfilling work environment for the first 2 years for me, a broken arm, a car wreck and back pain that continues until today, our two-year-old cat dying in front of us–even with Eric’s kitty CPR–for some undiagnosed reason, Papa’s death, MIL’s melanoma, other Papa’s fall off a ten-foot extension ladder, all our buddies leaving for their internships last fall, etc. 

That is not to say we didn’t have some great times in graduate school. Our Tuesday night brewery church group–miss y’all, adopting two great new kitties, volunteering to help other kittens get adopted, 3 Team in Training events raising over $13,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!!, finding a great job in the fashion industry, never needing to borrow money for medical bills or other bills–thanks to everyone for al y’all’s generosity, Eric’s “remission” (he’ll never be cured, but his levels are undetectable at the moment), the city itself-Grant’s Farm, Farmer’s Market,  the zoo, wineries close by, our upstairs neighbor and her dog Junior–Scotch’s crush, countless trips to CA (4 I think), Sasha’s Wine Bar, $3 buck chuck, etc.

This is culminating in my one “issue” with vacations. I eat whatever I want. My triathlon was right before we left. After that working out has been sparse. My clothes still seem to fit, but man do I feel it. Like I’m doing laundry and wearing my hubby’s shorts. Shorts that would probably be easy to pants him and they are fitting a little tighter than that on me! Thankfully, I have gym access and have been able to work out a bit the last two weeks!

I’m not sure what my next “event” will be. There is a Napa Valley Marathon in March which looks beautiful. Also, as part of the Big Sur Marathon is this 6 mile Mud Run. Watch the video and tell me that doesn’t look awesome. For now, I feel like yoga is a great focus. I was just gifted a new mat–since ours in on a truck somewhere in Oakland and it is great. Even my sweaty hands and feet don’t slip! 

Since we’re talking about vacations, let’s talk about work. As in, I’m unemployed. I’m more worried about what other people think and how the lapse will look on my resume than I am about a job right now. We only have one car, and we live 30-35 miles south of where our apartment is, so any commute would quite possibly be killer. That being said, how do I respond when the umpteenth parishioner asks me about my job hunt? I know they mean well, and we don’t know each other yet, so there isn’t much else to talk about, but still… It makes me feel awkward about being so okay with my unemployment. Probably because in the past, I took some jobs that were pretty terrible because I HAD to work, and now that Eric’s being paid, I’m taking my time to find a job I really want.

So there you have it. My never-ending vacation still has no end in sight, and I’m quite okay with that!

Peace,

Katy