Life. 365-Style (9/18-10/21)

Another month has passed, friends. October has really been flying by. We’re out enjoying as much of our warm weather as possible – getting some of our final Stairway Walks wrapped up, squeezing in a hike or backpacking trip, and whatever else we can do to stay outdoors.

In addition to all of that regular stuff, life has been full of changes since August. Some horrible, some not too bad. I had an amazing time in NC with my family, and started a new job right after I got back. We continue to adjust to life without Tange. We had to put mom’s cat down while in NC, and that experience brought back all those all-too-recent memories. But we move on, as is our only choice.

All in all, putting things into perspective, life is still good. Here’s the short summary:

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261 – I had no idea I’d have to say goodbye to yet another cat in such a short time. This was mom’s cat, Boo, who was hiding a large tumor from his mommy until he just couldn’t anymore. He didn’t like me at all, and this is the closest I ever got to him.

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262 – One perk of my visit to NC was spending lots of time with family, and one extra-special perk was getting to finally go to another NCSU football game. We had some pretty awesome seats, and my Pops and I (along with his drunken friends!) had a pretty good night.

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263 – My Sis and I realized the rehab center had this rando bird cage at the entrance. wtf?

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264 – sometimes there’s nothing else to do but watch movies. Bridesmaids never disappoints.

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265 – Neither does bonding with my sissy. We had a really great time together, even if her feet did stink.

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266 – Mom will KILL me for posting this, but I like to think she’ll be ok with it, since I’m commenting on how amazing her hair looked after a good wash and curl – the old-school way!

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267 – Mom stayed in the rehab center for about 10 days, and then I brought her home. Before that though, I loaded the fridge with a whole cheesecake from this cute lil’ place in downtown Clayton. Super tasty.

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268 – Bye, Boo. This was without a doubt the worst day of my visit. It was hard to see mom so upset, after she’d made so much progress, and knowing how excited she was to come home to her cat.

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269 – BBQ one last time. I couldn’t get enough! And I’m glad I discovered Charlie’s.

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270 – Ok, one more time. With Cheerwine, too!

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271 – As much fun as I had in NC and as hard as it was to leave, it felt good to be home to my normal life. Plus, I missed Philz ;).

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272 – Mom wouldn’t have liked Pumpkin Curry, but we sure do!

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273 – Speaking of my normal life, it felt good to not be unemployed. I had three weeks off from working once I left Stanford, and my new job started on 9/30. I was none-too-excited about this pic, but whatever. I can’t ask for much for an ID, I suppose. And for anyone who’s wondering, my job is going well. It’s very similar to my old one in many ways, but I do miss my Stanford coworkers.

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274 – The best part? this dang commute. I bike by City Hall and the Civic Center every day, and lately, it’s been just gorgeous. The hills on the way IN to work? They’ll take some getting used to…

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275 – I should just call this post BBQ and be done with it. Not a week later and we met Liz and Kevin at Southpaw. I actually got the fried chicken, but Chris and I split that and his BBQ.

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276 – Sometimes Sasha really does think. Just not often. But isn’t she so pretty?!

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277 – Another Friday happy hour at Pi.

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278 – We got out of SF for a day and picked up some of our wine in Sonoma. We decided to stop at Matanzas Creek, a winery we went to on our first trip to Wine Country when we were still in Chicago. The views there are gorgeous.

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279 – We finished a Stairway Walk in the Upper Market area of town, right smack dab in the center of the city.

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280 – I love a good fall beer. This is Anchor Steam’s Big Leaf Maple.

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281 – Another benefit of my short commute? I’ve figured out how to make my running work into the trip home – a couple of days a week I take the bus to work instead of my bike, and I run home, creating random zig zags along the way to complete my full program. It takes a little planning, but it’s great to get a full run in and still be home by 6:15. This is one of the views from Dolores Park (and yeah, after barely surviving up the hill, sometimes it’s nice to stop and snap a pic!).

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282 – weeknight vegetable curry. This one was from the True Food book and just ok, but the leftovers tasted better.

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283 – I had a benefits orientation this morning, so of course I managed to squeeze in a trip to The Mill on the way.

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284 – Do you see the lil’ one in the back? I can’t tell if he’s scared or excited.

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285 – It was a little difficult to backpack what with the government shutdown and all, but we found a smaller state park in the area with a short hike in and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon of napping and reading in the sun.

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286 – there’s water back there in the distance. These are the Santa Cruz mountains.

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287 – SPRINKLES! need i say more?

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288 – It’s hard to capture these moments, but Sasha has a weird infatuation with licking plastic. Remember how I said she wasn’t so smart?!

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289 – Pigeons! As Chris would say, #missionlife.

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290 – I’m on jury duty this week, and they don’t require potential jurors in court until 9:30. So, I obviously went to Craftsman & Wolves beforehand for a thai curry scone. Duh.

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291 – Just barely escaped jury duty after being in court for 2 1/2 days. I had to grab another Friday Pi beer.

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292 – This weekend was amazingly beautiful. Chris and I completed 2 Stairway Walks, both on the north side of the city. We even tiptoed around Fisherman’s Wharf for one of them. Tourist count was off the charts, and I think I don’t need to go back there for at least a few more years ;).

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293 – After a sad Bears loss, we hit up a nice semi-outdoor late lunch at Namu Gaji, tossed in some soft serve from Bi-Rite, and laid in Dolores Park for a little bit. Cannot complain about that day, despite the loss.

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294 – Post-run Bernal fog rolling in.

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Life. 365-Style. (4/30-5/27)

If I could sum up the last couple of weeks using just one word, it would be “inspired”. Like whoa. May was a pretty epic month over here – lots of great SF weather, some good biking on my new bike (!), and the big one – vacation in Peru. It was all pretty spectacular.

[Also, I’m not sure what happened to my blog layout, but whatevs. I think it’s fixed and back to normal-enough for now. Sorry for any confusion.]

And now, here’s the picture summary:

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120 – morning run along the bay. these are the best times to visit the Embarcadero area (quiet).

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121 – someone’s trying to make mama jealous.

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122 – this Greek-style beef/lamb/feta lasagna lasted us all dang week. YUM.

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123 – Big Basin HQ. This is a mighty large Redwood. This time, we did a two-night camp/hike, driving straight to the forest after work so we could get up bright and early to hike.

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124 – a snack, with a view of Berry Creek Falls in the back.

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125 – 24 miles of hiking calls for a burger reward. this is our last hike before we head to Peru, so we better be ready!

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126 – mussels, beans, and spaghetti. I could eat this for dinner at all times.

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127 – I finally got a new bike that I can ride to work! it’s lightweight, so it fits nicely on the train so I can bike to the station and to campus. fun times.

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128 – we are some of the only people still watching Survivor, aren’t we? we are totally rooting for Cochran this time.

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129 – a fried egg is good on everything, but especially tasty on a rice/kale/avocado dish with an ass-ton of hot sauce.

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130 – our friend, Judy, is starting a really intense health program soon, so we went all out with a Meat Fest at the House of Prime Rib. nothing like eating a ton of meat and carbs over a 9:00 reservation!

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131 – another sunny day in Dolores Park.

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132 – a huge batch of granola in preparation for vacation!

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133 – bikes loaded onto Caltrain. always a pretty mess.

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134 – chicken salad leftovers for lunch.

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135 – vacation has officially begun! a short hop down to LAX for our connection to Lima requires a beer to kick things off ;).

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136 – our view from our hotel in Cusco. Cusco’s altitude is 12,000 feet, so we’re camping out here for a couple of days to make sure we’re appropriately acclimatized prior to our big hike! fortunately, neither of us got altitude sickness, as we were adequately prepared with a couple of days of medication in us before getting there.

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137 – not kidding on the altitude. there is definitely less air up there.

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138 – are we in Cusco, or back in San Francisco?!

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139 – after a scary day of food poisoning, I fortunately recovered, got a good meal in, and we set off to hike the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. This is one of the scenes from Day 1 of the trek, the first of many amazing sights.

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140 – Day 2 is the hardest of the 4, where we climbed hundreds of grueling stairs, gaining about 4,000 feet to reach our max elevation of 13,700 feet. all that work to head back down 2,000 more feet to camp for the night. this pic was at the top of our first mountain pass, called “Dead Woman’s Pass”. it was definitely worthy of celebration, including a tube of peanut butter, which our Australian trek-mate got a kick out of!

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141 – on Day 3, we started super early (before sunlight) and climbed up more and more and more stairs to about 13,000 feet again, only to go down even more, making it all the way down to 8,700 feet at the end. we visited about 5 Incan cities this day, and this picture was at one of the first ones.

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142 – this was our reward – we were up by 4 AM and made a short trek into Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate right after sunrise. after the clouds cleared, this is what we saw for hours. All those 27 miles, thousands of stairs, and painful thighs were worth it for this.

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143 – Chris was all smiles after reaching the peak of Machu Picchu mountain the following day. he was determined to overcome his fear of heights, and he succeeded. I was super impressed.

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144 – after all the hiking, we decided to take it easy for a day. this proved to be really nice, since i somehow managed to get food poisoning AGAIN the day before. always keeping it interesting, right?! we settled in at a nice resort in Urubamba, where we had a patio that opened up to a beautiful yard with a view of the mountains. we thought it would be hard to stay in the hotel, but it wasn’t. not at all!

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145 – we lived on coca tea during this trip; this was a morning cup before heading to Cusco to catch our flight into Lima, where we spent the last couple of days before heading home.

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146 – our B&B in Lima was in the home of a famous sculptor and in a nice, quiet neighborhood. this proved to be a great choice, as we weren’t too prepared for the craziness of Lima, compared to the quiet of the day we spend in Urubamba. this is a building near our B&B that i thought was pretty cool – orange and blue.

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147 – and we end with a plate of BBQ! we were fortunate enough to have a direct flight from Lima to SFO, and we walked into our place at 6 PM. Just enough time to start the first of many loads of laundry, love on the cats, and then eat some good comfort food. it hit the spot, for sure.

Happenings, Part 1

I was thinking the other day (I know, I know) about this little blog. I was thinking about how I do love for it to be about food and about recipes I’ve tried and loved, and about stories that may or may not tie in to those recipes. That will always be the focus here, because that’s what got me started writing here. Not writing here about food and recipes would just seem weird, I think.

I want to keep it that way for as long as I can, until I get absolutely tired of blogging every week, or whatever. But I also decided this: I want to add a few random things, too. Sorta like our Stairway Walks (which we are WAY behind on), or our travels (even though those are often about food, too). Whatever the crap is on my brain at the moment. And while I’d love to promise something every Friday, I know better than to commit to that. Sometimes it’s hard to blog every Tuesday…

Thanks to those of you who provided the inspiration, even though you didn’t know it – Heidi, Tracy, and Liz. Now I’m going to sort of copy you :).

So anyway, here we go.

Today I’m going to share a list of some of the most awesome things that I’ve done, that I’ve eaten, or that I’m into from the last couple of weeks. Hold on to your pantaloons, people!

  • First and foremost, I can’t tell you how freaking excited I am about this concert. I bought pre-sale tickets earlier this week and I am PUMPED. Yeah, I am excited about this guy and this band, too (and the venue! hint – it’s in the beginning of The Rock, one of the most awesomest movies ever), but I’m probably MOST excited about this one. Hoo boy.
  • Also, I’m slowly becoming addicted to PINTEREST. I know I’m not alone. Are you addicted yet? Or are you like my husband and you “just don’t get why that site is so popular”? I mean, for serious, it’s a virtual corkboard. Duh. So feel free to follow me, if you’re into that sorta thing. And join, so I can follow you!
  • Cold-brewed coffee sounds so excellent right now. Especially this one that’s made like the coffee in New Orleans. Tasters.
  • Speaking of coffee, I am also addicted to this place. Never mind the creepy picture on their site, their lattes are the best I’ve ever had, and I get them with soy instead of whole milk because it feels healthier…
  • I was in Charlotte, NC for a conference last week (at which time we also did our regular “driving around the state” to visit friends and family), and I was surprisingly super impressed with Charlotte. I don’t know much about the city, but after spending almost a week there I have to say – not bad at all. Obviously, there were loads of nice southern people (sooooo nice! I forget, sometimes) and the weather was gorgeous. One of my favorite spots was this restaurant. It shouldn’t surprise you – because it’s SOUTHERN FOOD. I forced my dining companions to eat pimento cheese crackers and deviled eggs (although I must admit, mine are better…), AND they both ordered the fried chicken. Aside from the great food though, this restaurant has a mission unlike any other: 100% of their profits are donated to feed the poor in Charlotte and everywhere else. They also employ people who may not get jobs as easily as others. And like I said, the food is great, too. If you’re ever in the area, you have to try it. In the words of the annoying Ina Garten, “how cool is that?!”.
  • What else? Oh! I bought some new kicks this weekend. Since I have slowly been learning to run for longer than 1 minute, I’ve run holes into my probably 10 year old sneakers, so I am finally retiring them. Plus, these are way cuter.
  • Also, I watched the movie that everyone else is watching this weekend. As usual, the books are way better, but hello, Lenny Kravitz is in the movie! And Woody. He makes a great drunk.
  • BBQ. Need I say more? I got yelled at for calling it “pulled pork” when I was in North Carolina, but I suppose I deserved it. We did get to visit my favorite spot for eastern NC BBQ when we went to my mom’s house. And earlier this week, we even tried BBQ in San Francisco! We also hung out with some really cool new friends. Thanks, Luke :).
  • The empty plate up above? That’s because the burgers here were so damn good I couldn’t stop. Also, it had pimento cheese on it. And tater tots on the side. Heaven!
  • Last but certainly not least, these exact prints are on my “to buy” list. I’m going to redesign our little office nook soon and yellow and grey are the colors. We’ll see how long this “project takes”.

 

What’s on your mind lately?

Oh, and Happy Spring. It is lovely outside, isn’t it?!