Friday, February 25, 2011


We were very happy to have our 
friends Josh & Tim stop by this week.

Z went to school with both of them in 
Chicago, where Tim still lives.
He was in Cali to visit Josh in Long Beach
& lots of other folks, too!

We went to Moo Creamery for lunch
and then gave them the grand tour of 
town, ending up at the bluffs overlooking
the oil fields.

Thanks for including us in your crazy Cali road trip/vacation, 
Tim! We had a great afternoon with y'all!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On how we got a free pie.

Z & I live very close to downtown, 
and we frequently walk the same route 
to get to our favorite local spots.

The other night we were walking home
from the coffee shop.

As we passed a little mom-and-pop
restaurant we heard, 
"Hey kids! Do you live in the neighborhood?"

We turned.
"Um..yes, we do."

A petite woman in the restaurant's kitchen entrance
moved out toward us.
"Oh good. Would you like a pie? I hate to
throw them out, and we have one of our peanut butter pies 
with whipped cream's one of our most popular!"

"Well...if we have to...", says Z, 
his mouth already watering.
 He can never say no to peanut butter.

The woman disappears & then returns with a
simple pink paper box. She introduces herself
as the owner (with her husband), says she has
seen us walking by, but wanted to make sure
we lived nearby since she'd like us to 
return the pie tin after we're done.

We thank her for her generosity & agree to stop in
for some food & bring her the pie tin soon. 
Again, we head back into the night
toward home, 
 but this time, we have pie.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Head Gear

I've been busy crocheting up lots of hats
& new styles lately.
 Here are a few photos.

 The bow on this one is actually adjustable
& sits just over the ear...too cute!

 My college colors were orange, purple, & white.
I really love that color combo on this hat.

 My oldest nephew recently demanded a new hat, 
so this one's for him!

 Another new style for me, a cloche with a rolled brim.
I used a super soft yarn since this one is a chemo cap.

 Another super soft, but really simple hat.
This one and the next are for my brand new niece!

 I love how the rosette & ruffled edge makes it look
like a little cupcake top.

I'm loving experimenting with new patterns,
& coming up with some of my own.
More hats & other projects are already in the works!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love birds

Mr. Wilson typically starts his day
with a little time to roam around the backyard.
This morning was no different,
but when I opened up the door to let him back inside, 
I was delighted to find this:

 Two pairs of birds 
settled into our orange tree
for a Valentine's feast.

I hope you enjoy these beauties
as much as I did, 
and that you are having a wonderful day!

I did a little research and discovered
that these birds are
Rose-ringed parakeets.
So interesting!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On my love of food.

I love food.
I mean really love food.

Lately a lot of my time is 
spent thinking about grocery lists,
flavor pairings, & new dishes I want to try.
But it wasn't always this way.

When I was little I was one of those
ridiculously picky kids who had to be
bribed to eat much of anything.
I didn't really care for the taste of meat, 
so one day I just stopped eating any of it.
That was 19 years ago.

I know for most kids this wouldn't work.
Thankfully my parents are vegetarians
 & always served both veggie 
& meat options to my brother, sister, and me.
They made sure that I had a healthy diet, 
getting plenty of protein & vitamins.

My dad is a pretty fabulous cook.
The older I got, the more I appreciated
his creative dishes, 
began shedding my picky-eater habits,
and started doing a little cooking of my own.

Fast forward to life in Chicago.
Z& I had a 1 bedroom apartment with a tiny, narrow kitchen.
There was no room for a microwave, 
so we inadvertently joined the slow food movement.
We started eating more fresh food & fewer processed items.
We were forced to think more about what and when we were eating.

When we moved to California
we decided that we would maintain our
microwave-free existence.
I have really grown as a cook, trying new recipes 
& experimenting with lots of ingredients.
I've also discovered the joys of baking, 
making breads, doughs, and sweets from scratch.

We are definitely healthier overall than we were before, 
but we still enjoy some treats.
I mean, homemade fudge brownies & salted caramel
are just too darn good to give up completely.
But, I know exactly what's in them & can
add in an extra workout or two that week!

Here's some cheese bread that I made recently.
Very tasty, but next time I'm going to make them
into smaller rolls & leave out the cheddar.
 A super simple lunch of spicy capellini &
spinach with a mustard vinaigrette.

I'm still trying to figure out how to overcome
my kitchen lighting issues to 
get better pictures of what's cooking
to share with you all.

I'd love to hear your favorite recipes
or your thoughts on food & cooking!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

When the going gets rough, write a blog post.

Well, y'all...
life is certainly not boring.

It's been one of those 
weeks where lots of small,
stressful situations
have all hit us at the same time.

But this blog is no place
to dwell on negativity, 
so I'll share some of the good
things that happened this week.

First, Z & I are trying to find
new/more things to do around here.
We know one of the baseball players
on a local college team, 
so we took in a game the other night.

 Then, I got a call from our favorite store, 
Trader Joe's.
When you take your own shopping bag
*at least at our local TJ's*
you get a raffle ticket.
Every so often they draw a name 
to spin the prize wheel & get a free item.
So in the midst of my crazy week
I got to spin the wheel & won some
free TJ's frosted flakes!

I also hosted
9 people from church for
a dinner/committee meeting.
The food was good
& my house is clean.

And thankfully the weather
has been lovely during the day
so I'm enjoying taking my
Mr. Wilson for walks 
around the neighborhood.

When I'm stressed, I like to try to 
do something productive, so I've 
been crocheting lots of new hats
& trying out new patterns & stitches.
I'll be posting some photos of them soon!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Breaking through the fog

 I know it's no comparison to the heaps of snow
or bone-chilling temperatures many of our 
friends are dealing with right now, 
but winter in the valley
is colder & grayer than I'd anticipated.

For a place that gets above 110 in the summer, 
I admit that I didn't expect to see the 30s in the winter.
Besides the temps, though, there is often a heavy 
blanket of fog/smog, 
and honestly, 
it can be really depressing.

So we try to take advantage of our sunny days.
Below you can see Z & Mr. Wilson
hanging out on the front porch
while Z does a bit of old-fashioned writing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A few days in Long Beach

The day after the Chile vs. USA match
we headed down to Long Beach for a few days.

The official reason for the trip
was to attend the annual
Bishop's Colloquy
for our church's synod, 
but I have to admit that the warm weather, 
sunshine, visiting with friends,
and staying at a nice hotel were definite
highlights of our LB experience.

The colloquy was great, too, though.
The keynote speaker was 
Mark Hanson, 
the presiding bishop of the ELCA, 
and it was great to hear him speak
in such a small setting.

I enjoyed meeting Bishop Hanson, 
but I just adored his wife, 
& ended up talking to her for a couple of hours.
What an amazing lady.

Then, while Z was in some
(less-than-interesting) sessions, I took a stroll
over to the harbor for some photos.

Beautiful! It was difficult to return to 
the dense, winter fog in the valley
after all that sunshine.