Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Huckleberries and snow

I visited Kat and Tom in Naches, Washington this weekend. It snowed. Kat and I went for a hike and looked at the wildflowers and the budding trees. In the snow. Amazing.

Kat treated us to a tart made with wild huckleberries that she harvested last summer. Blueberries have got nothing on huckleberries, and Kat's tart was truly a thing of beauty and yumminess.

Here are Kat and Tom and their middle kitty, Ziggy, who is being exceedingly adorable as she is wont to do.
There are no pictures memorializing the event, but Sunday night Tom and I stayed up until the wee hours (really! Me! Up until 1:30!) enjoying some fine single malt scotch and expanding each other's musical horizons. The highlight for me was Abigail Washburn, a North Umbrian musician whose tunes utilized not only various obscure pipes, but also cello, trombone, and Alpinehorn. Weird and wonderful stuff. We ended the night with some dude named Wayne the Train who was mighty fine in his own way. Your cd's will be on their way soon, Tom.

Thanks to both of you for a fun and relaxing weekend!

Friday, April 18, 2008

An engineer's guide to cats

The geek pitch for cat ownership.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why I love my yoga teacher

Besides being inspiring and all-around amazing, she makes me laugh at some point in every class. There we were today, lying on our stomaches, arms crossed under our necks and elbows bent so that our hands joined behind our necks (in my case just barely)--got that image? If not, let's just say it was awkward at best. At which point she says, "This is the Monty Python pose." There are some small giggles from the room. She continues in a British accent, "I'm not dead yet!" "Y'will be soon!"

Despite the dramatic restriction on our breathing everyone cracked up.

In case you haven't seen me in the last two weeks, here she is on the cover of this month's Yoga Journal.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chocolate fixes everything

How much BS will I put up with to sample amazing chocolate? The answer, apparently, is quite a bit.

Yesterday while Tom was making gorgeous cloissone (sp?) pieces, Theresa, Tristan and I visited the Chocolate Salon at Ft. Mason. On hand were about two dozen chocolate makers, most local. Ghiradelli and Guittard were there, but we skipped right past them to try xox Truffles, Charles Chocolates, Chuao, Saratoga, Poco Dolce, New Tree, Xocolate (makers of "chakralates", oh dear), Christopher Elbow, and many, many others. Which brings me to Complaint The First: I have a giant bag of chocolate samples in my fridge (it was too hot yesterday to leave them out) and I don't know where nearly all of them came from. As much as I hate excessive packaging, for an event like this to pay off for the exhibitors, it seems to me that they should have put take-away samples in individual little bags with a sticker or something. I'm sure I will love a lot of what is in that bag, but I am going to have a heck of a time figuring out where to get more in most instances.

XOX was the clear winner for all three of us. The caramel truffle was a magical combination of bitter chocolate and sweet, burnt caramel flavor. Tristan and Theresa tried the lemon ginger truffle and neither much liked it. I finally know what all thd fuss is about and will go out of my way to get to North Beach when they are open in the future. Charles Chocolates had some wonderful samples out as well--the cream-based chocolate orange twigs that are like crack to me, peanut butter butterflies, and a lot more that I put in my bag for later sampling. Christopher Elbow continues to leave me cold. I tried a "bananas foster" truffle--chocolate shell with a liquidy banana center that was way too strongly banana and had almost no chocolate flavor. We all concluded that we do not like tea in our chocolate. There was one vendor who did nothing but tea chocolates (can't remember the name, darnit), and all of them that we tried were fiercely tannic, so the insides of our mouths puckered up.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Will I go back? Probably not. This may have been the most poorly organized event I have ever attended.

I purchased tickets about 3 weeks ago, and since nothing indicated to the contrary, assumed they would be mailed to me. Saturday I realized I hadn't gotten them and emailed, only to be informed all tickets would be at will-call. When we arrived, there was one very long and slow moving line. After a few minutes a woman came out and announced, "There are two lines, will call on the left and to buy tickets on the right." Everyone began to sort themselves and then she said, "Will call on the right and to buy tickets on the left," at which point it was total chaos. Once we were in separate lines, the to-buy line began moving swiftly while will-call slowed to a crawl. When we got near the door we saw why: There was a single person for will-call and two for purchases. Both tables were on the left side, so to pick up tickets you had to cross the line of people purchasing. Then we discovered that the will-call list was organized by first name. Then the woman giving us our tickets tried to short us a ticket and I had to interpret her list for her.

Once inside there was one very small rooms where everyone stopped to fall upon the samples. A slightly larger room was behind it, but about a third of that room was taken up by a bank of chairs facing a stage where a hair-styling demo was taking place (I wish that was a joke). It was not possible to exhibit good or even passable manners and get near a table. Pushing was more or less required if you hoped to get to the chocolate.

Most annoying of all, since the crowds were so thick and insistent there was no possibility of talking to the vendors about their products. It was just grab a sample and move on to the next. I cannot imagine that the vendors were happy with the day, either.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cute dog in the park

And some pretty blooms

Wisteria Hysteria or No One Likes to be Called a Cheater

Okay, fine, be that way. Here are some of our pictures from Filoli.

Also, I do not have a copy of the cool cycling shot on Tristan's blog, and it's the only one of me and my bike from that day. But here's the deal: Last Sunday was the longest ride I have been on since the AIDS Ride in 2000. I rode from home to Filoli, and got there about a half hour before I was due to meet Theresa, Tom and Tristan. Also, as I pulled up to Filoli, it started dumping rain. A normal person would have sought shelter. But that cool yellow jacket I'm wearing? It's called a "Showers Pass" jacket. Cecil recommended it when I declared that I was going to ride to work through the winter, rain be damned. Oops. So last Sunday was the first time my lovely rain jacket had seen a drop and I thought: Whoopeee! and kept going. All told, I did 35 miles and worked up a powerful appetite. And let me tell you, Clif Bars just don't do it for me anymore.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I was going to blog about our Sunday trip to Filoli, but Tristan beat me to it. And did such a good job. Why be redundant?

I haven't downloaded Theresa's pictures yet--I'll post some more flowers later.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Tristan's dedication to her "external memory" has inspired me to try and be more diligent about posting . . . whatever. Probably fewer pictures and shorter entries, but maybe then I'll do it more often than once every two months!

First, I've been meaning to get a picture of the bulbs we planted in the fall. The daffodils and narcissus have come and gone, but the tulips are going strong.

Here is what Theresa accomplished this weekend. Isn't it pretty?

And last, here is what I did not accomplish:

I did make a scale drawing of the back yard, though, and roughed out a plan. So in a year or two when it comes together, I've got a "before" pic for comparison.