Thursday, January 31, 2008

Drake's Estero, Point Reyes

Went for a hike a few days ago at Drake's Estero, in Point Reyes National Seashore. I've been meaning to get out there forever, and it didn't disappoint. You can't see it in this picture, but the estero is full of all kinds of birds. Everything from cranes to a zillion ducks to sandpipers and seagulls. Once you out above the open water of the bay a bit more, you can see the oyster farmers hard at work. In fact, the night after this hike, we had fresh oysters with our dinner that could well have been harvested by the very men we watched splashing along in their hip-high waders.

Plus, how can you go wrong hiking on a day in January that looks like that??? And, of course, with company that looks like this :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Only in California

This is cracking me up today -- Marijuana vending machines. This would SO not happen anywhere else! What will those crazy SoCal kids think of next?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


The crazy rain continues here in California. We've gotten 5 inches in the past 24 hours, and nearly all of it came in just a few hours last night. That doesn't SOUND like a lot, somehow, since 5 inches of snow would barely faze folks where I grew up. It turns out, though, that it's enough to snarl things up right well in the Bay Area.

Last night, it took me an hour to drive about 5 miles on the freeway. So I got off the highway and found myself driving in the middle of a river, essentially. A creek had overflowed and was just pouring across the road. Luckily, I drive a Jeep and was able to go right through it, with only a few scary hydroplaning moments when I didn't see spots where the road was flooded till I was right on top of them.

Apparently, they actually had to close down highway 101 near San Anselmo because of the rain, and they've evacuated parts of Petaluma. My landlord drives a teeny tiny Porsche and she couldn't even get home last night because of the crazy flooded roads -- her little car would have washed right away. I'm sort of surprised I didn't see any cows floating across the road last night as I was driving home.

Anyway, I'm heading into the city in an hour or so to pick up my honey at the airport, and I'm a bit worried that we're going to have no end of problems. According to SF Gate, 101 appears to be open at the moment, but all of my alternate routes home are closed, so if 101 shuts down again, we're screwed. I guess I better bring a wet suit -- we may be swimming home.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reading Update 1/25/08

John Connolly -- The Book of Lost Things

What to say about this book? It started off SO well. All week, I've been telling people about this fantastic book I was reading. Raving about it, even. It grabbed me right away and I so didn't want to put it down. But then, as I got deeper into it, it lost some of its magic for me. The writing wasn't nearly as beautiful and pulled-together as the start of the book. Many of the characters felt very one-dimensional to me, and it seemed at times like Connolly was throwing certain violent or twisted elements in almost as an afterthought -- they didn't really feel integrated into the story. I dunno. It was still decent, but not great, in the middle. And then it I both liked and didn't like the ending. I don't want to talk about the aspects of the ending I didn't like, since that would give away too much, I think. But what I did really like about the ending is that the mysterious, wistful tone of the beginning of the book was back. Connolly has the ability to be a lovely writer, but he didn't sustain it throughout the book. I'm actually a little sad -- I really wanted this book to live up to how wonderful it was at the beginning!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reading Update: January 22, 2008

Pete Hautman -- Godless

Young adult book that I picked up off the shelves at work. It was okay, but I didn't love it. It is something I could see my late middle school / early high school students really enjoying, though.

Elizabeth Graver --
The Honey Thief

This one has been sitting unread on my bookshelf probably for years, at this point. Not for any particular reason -- just because I have this habit of buying way more books than even I can read. I'll buy a whole bunch of stuff at once and start reading it. But then I get distracted by something new and half the stuff I bought ends up sitting unread for months or even years. There are worse habits to have, I suppose. In this case, though, my habit led me to miss out on this lovely little book for far too long. Did it change my world? No. But it was a nice read -- I think Graver does a good job of painting real, flawed characters, and of capturing the relationship between an adolescent girl and the mother who suddenly, in her daughter's eyes, can't seem to do anything right.

Heidi Swanson -- Super Natural Cooking

After making Heidi Swanson's Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup, from her blog 101 Cookbooks, a couple weeks ago, I had to buy her book. And I'm so glad I did. SNC focuses on healthy, natural food. But if you're imagining flavorless, hippy-dippy whole foods, think again. Almost everything in this cookbook sounds absolutely delicious (and looks even better, in Heidi's fantastic photos)! I can't wait to make the banana walnut espresso muffins, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to make her soba-noodle recipe, Otsu, for dinner tonight. I think it's going to really help me cut back on the refined flour and sugar in my diet, which I've been wanting to do for a while. Somehow, I've developed a much more of a sweet tooth in the past few years that I never had when I was younger.

Plus, it's the kind of cookbook I like best -- it has great recipes, but it also has a wealth of info about the basic ingredients and lots of tips about making the recipes your own. I'm not a great recipe follower, when it comes right down to it. To me, cooking is a lot like painting or writing or any other art form -- you have to follow your creative impulses for it to reach its full potential. This book gives me the knowledge and tools I need to do that.

Christopher Moore -- Fluke

I really enjoyed the last Christopher Moore book I read, so I had high hopes for this one. It SOUNDED like it was going to be funny. It really did. I mean, seriously, a whale with "bite me" on its fluke? Lots of humor potential, right? It disappointed me, though. Quirky, to be sure, but just not that funny. At all. I just couldn't care about the characters at all. In fact, I'm a sucker for a happy ending, but even though this book had one, it just left me feeling . . . eh.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tidepool -- McClure's Beach

Went hiking on Saturday out at Point Reyes. We hiked a good chunk of the Tomales Point Trail, which was lovely, as always. It was a gorgeous, calm, sunshiny day. Perfect for being on a trail up above the ocean. Then, we swung down to McClure's beach for some rock-hopping and beachcombing. I love the tidepools there, but I have yet to see any actual animals in them. Maybe it's not right sort of rock for starfish and the like to cling to, or maybe I just haven't been there at low enough tide. As you can see above, the tidepools are lovely, in any case. And the beach is great for beachcombing (like I need to add more rocks to my collection!). They allow bonfires there, too, and I think I'm going to need to take advantage of that some day very soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cotton Candy Sky

This was the scene when I came out of work a few days ago. Lovely, no? Something about the colors makes me think of the long plastic bags of pink and blue cotton candy I got at the circus as a kid. And the view certainly made the end of a long day a little sweeter.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sometimes life is like a moldy orange

You dig into the peel, expecting sunshine-y goodness, and instead you get icky black mold. Mmm. Lovely image, right? I was really looking forward to that orange, too . . .

In any case, I think I may have fallen out of love with my job. The job that I was so excited to take on, and that I've loved for so long. Either that, or I've developed adult ADD. I just can't seem to focus and get engaged with anything I'm working on anymore. And I can't figure out if that's me or if it's the work. I have been banging my head against the same damn lesson plan for three days now and I just can't seem to break through. How the heck do I get past this???

I didn't get a real vacation over the holidays, and in retrospect, I think that was a mistake. Anyone want to pack up and move to Fiji with me for a few months? You can make a living as a beach bum, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

. . . and then some of the steers began to mount each other.

Reason # 1,256,743 I love love love NPR? Because while I was stuck in the traffic of DOOM on my way home from work last night, they played a story that featured the line " . . . and then some of the steers began to mount each other." And the newscaster said it without even a hint of a giggle. How is that even POSSIBLE? If I'd been drinking anything, I'd've snarfed it out of my nose at that point.

Here's a link to the full story on NPR:

(The back story is that Chrysler decided to go a little insane for the launch of the new Ram pickup truck at the Detroit auto show this year and imported 120 longhorn cattle to the streets of Detroit. They had cowboys, too, to herd the cattle. Of course. And the steer started mounting each other just as the company president was giving his speech about the new truck. Today I'm SO proud to be from Detroit!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Falling in love all over again

California, you vixen. Just when I'm sick and tired of your winter moodiness, your incessant weeping and wailing the past couple of weeks. Just when I'm thinking maybe this relationship isn't such a great idea, after all. You come at me with a day like today. Warm sunshine and rolling green hills. Wild mustard springing up, making the fields look as though someone has flung a paintbrush across the hills and splashed them with yellow. And dozens of pelicans just hanging out by the side of the road (you KNOW how I feel about pelicans!)

I mean, really! How am I supposed to stay mad at you when you look at me like this?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Whatchu lookin' at Willis?

Have I mentioned that my cat, Scout, is insane? Last week, as you know, she took a flying leap off a 15-foot high railing, using up one of her 9 lives and taking a couple years off my life, too, as I watched her go over the edge. All in one fell swoop. And just now, she was curled up next to me on the bed, massaging her head against the corner of my computer. (She does this to make me feel guilty for not petting her enough -- I know it). Anyway, she accidentally hit the little button that opens the DVD drive, Scared the crap out of herself when it sprung open and knocked her upside the head. She sat up frantically, looking like, "Where are you? Who's effin with me? I can take you!"

The best Scout moment ever, though, was the night she got her head stuck in the watering can. Like so many cats, Scout will do everything she can to avoid drinking water from her actual water dish. She'll jump up on the counter to drink the water out of the dishes soaking in the sink. She has no qualms about "drinking at the bar" (a family friend's euphemism for drinking out of the toilet). And I can't even count how many half-full water glasses she's tipped over by trying to fit her ENTIRE HEAD in them. Like this:

Notice that there isn't even any water left in that glass. (And please don't ask why I have not yet learned not to leave half-full water glasses out. It's for the same reason I only manage to hang my bathrobe on the hook intended for it maybe 20% of the time. The same reason, too, that my earth-friendly, reusable cloth grocery bags are more likely to be sitting on my kitchen counter than actually in the car when I make it to the grocery store.)

Anyway, I have this small-ish watering can that (theoretically) I use to water the one houseplant I've managed to keep alive for any period of time (a cactus -- I'm not so good at the regular watering thing). The watering can is one of those cheap-o metal IKEA dealies, and I left it out on the counter one night. Sometime around 3 am one night a few months ago, I woke up to a loud crash and then a bunch of clanking and thrashing. I turned on the lights and found Scout with her head STUCK in the watering can. Apparently, she managed to squeeze it in, but her ears got caught when she tried to pull it back out. The watering can was on the counter to begin with, but by the time I got downstairs, Scout had already fallen off the counter (The crash I heard) and was thrashing about frantically trying to free herself. As I was about to pick her up and help her, she crashed her head against the cabinets and -- oh yes, it gets better -- the top of the watering can popped off, so that Scout was now left with the lid part of the can stuck around her little head like one of those African tribesmen in National Geographic. You know, the ones with the crazy long necks and fancy collar-things. And from the neck up, she was SOAKED. Soaked in the way that makes a cat look like they're going to murder someone at the same time as they look utterly and completely pathetic. And, of course, the bottom half of her was completely dry, the water having been blocked by the lid of the watering can. I don't think I've ever seen an animal look so pathetic in such an utterly hilarious way. I got her loose as quick as I could, and I didn't even make her wait while I got my camera to record this for posterity. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had, though - It would have made a perfect holiday card. Or a LOLCAT. Scout could have been famous, if only I'd been a slightly more heartless pet owner.

Yum, Yum, and Yum

I've been reading Heidi Swanson's lovely cooking blog, 101 Cookbooks, for at least a year now, and almost every time she posts, I think "Oh, that looks delicious. I'll have to make it sometime." Only then "sometime" turns into "when I'm less busy," which eventually turns into "never." Until now. Above is a picture of my version of the"Lively you up Lentil Soup" Heidi posted last week. I don't make soup at home as often as I'd like to, because I usually find that the soup I make at home just doesn't quite live up to my high hopes for it. It's always a little too bland or a little too thin or a little to thick. This soup, however, was absolutely fantastic. I made it with fire-roasted tomatoes, the pre-cooked lentils that Trader Joes sells in the refrigerated section near the lettuce, and some lovely, crinkly dark green dinosaur kale. I skipped the saffron yogurt, since I couldn't justify spending 8 bucks on saffron threads for a garnish. Instead, I served the soup with a swirl of un-doctored plain yogurt and a sprinkling of toasted whole cumin seeds. And, oh my. Best. Soup. Ever. (And the picture turned out pretty good too. This is progress. Usually my food pics turn out looking like something the cat dragged in.)

Oh baby!

Be prepared for some uber-cuteness if you click this link.

What do you think he's dreaming about?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reading Update: 1-10-08

Girl with a Pearl Earring -- Tracy Chevalier
I somehow missed this one when it was really popular a few years back. I may have thought it was too Oprah's book club. I dunno. In any case, what a lovely little gem of a book. It's a quiet book in a lot of ways, not a lot of big action. But it was so compelling that I could barely set it aside to work and sleep and eat. Love the main character. Chevalier does a really nice job capturing this girl caught on the cusp between child and adult, dealing with things that are both over her head and exactly what she wants at the same time. Loved it.

Feed -- MT Anderson
Futuristic young adult novel that won a lot of critical praise a few years back. It was okay, I suppose, but nothing all that exciting. I much prefer Margaret Atwood as the writer of my future dystopic novels, thank you very much.

The Omnivore's Dilemma -- Michael Pollan
I think I'm behind the game on this one, for someone who lives in the Bay area. It seems like everyone was all a-buzz over this book last spring and summer. I finally picked it up and I have to say I quite enjoyed it. It wasn't a fast read for me. Not a page turner, for sure. But it was interesting to get a view behind where our food comes from and think about my eating on a new level. Reading it was a little like reading Fast Food Nation a few years ago -- it's really made me think a lot more about my food choices -- I was horrified by some of the stuff about how even supposedly "organic" and "free range" chickens are treated, for example. In fact, there's a local poultry company that is mentioned in the book. I've been eating chicken from this company since I moved here, and I really thought I was doing right by the animals. It turns out, though, that despite the organic, cage-free, whatever else labels, the lives of the animals actually aren't that much better than in an industrial poultry factory. I don't see myself ever being a vegetarian -- I just don't believe in it for health or for moral reasons. But this book does make me wonder how ethical my food choices really are, even when I think I'm doing the right thing.

Do not read this post if you are easily grossed out

Dear Internet,

I have a problem and I need your help. For the most part, I love my gym. It's full of cute little old men with names like "Mel" who chat with me and pick my sweatshirt up off the floor for me so it doesn't get all dirty. All the cardio equipment comes complete with personal televisions. (And let me tell you, it's much easier for me to force myself to sweat for 45 minutes 5 days a week if I can do it while watching America's Next Top Model. Wait, did I say that out loud?). Plus, I just give them my member number to get in, so I don't have to manage to actually bring a membership card with me. Do you know how many times I lost my Bally's card when I lived in DC? Well, neither do I, actually, but I'm pretty sure it was more than 3 and fewer than 10.

But there is this guy there that is just grossing me out and I don't know what to do about it.

So, let's call this dude the Sweater, because, well, he sweats more than I've ever seen any other human being sweat in my life. The Sweater works out for LONG periods of time. We're talking a couple hours on the bike at a go. (Why he doesn't just ride his bike outside if he has that long to dedicate to it is beyond me). And, as I said, the Sweater sweats. Copiously. Now, I'm not especially easily grossed out by stuff like this. I mean everybody sweats. (Isn't that the name of a book or something? Perhaps a sequel to Everybody Poops? If it's not, it totally should be).

But this goes beyond his shirt being soaked through (which it is) and all the way to puddles on the floor. You heard me right -- PUDDLES of sweat on the floor surrounding his bike. You almost need rainboots to walk around after he's been on the bike. Now, if the Sweater gets to the gym before me, this is not that big of a deal. I just pick a bike or elliptical that's far, far away from him. The problem arises when I am there first and then he comes and sits down next to me. Because did I mention that the PUDDLES of sweat really, really gross me out? Plus (and this is even grosser), if he sits next to me there is the imminent danger of sweat SPLASH. This is not just some irrational fear - it's actually HAPPENED to me! Eww, eww, and more eww.

So here is my gym etiquette question: If the Sweater takes the bike next to mine, is it rude for me to get up and move? Even if it is rude, is it okay if I do it anyway? And, by the way, shouldn't he be, like, wiping up the puddles of sweat when he's done, so I don't accidentally step in them on my way to the elliptical? Isn't that the polite thing to do? Is that REALLY asking so much?

And don't even get me started on the gym Grunter . . .

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Things that make me happy on yet ANOTHER rainy day

1. Papaya. The bright orange, strawberry-tasting kind, not the slightly less spectacular yellow variety. With a squeeze of lime. Yum. This makes me feel -- just a little -- like I'm back on vacation in Hawaii, gorging myself on papayas just picked out of Miss Akiko's tropical garden for breakfast. (Other than, you know, the dismal gray skies outside my window and the complete and utter lack of rainbows.) I tried to take a picture of the lovely papaya I had for breakfast this morning. But, alas, my camera must not like papaya as much as I do. Every picture came out looking, well, disgusting. Like some horrible toxic fungus thing you might see on the 6 o'clock news. Yum.

2. My new rain jacket. Have I mentioned this jacket? It cost me way more than I EVER spend on a single item of clothing. Like twice as much. Seriously. I could have bought like 2 outfits at Target for how much this rain jacket cost me. But a miserably soaking wet hike in Oregon over Christmas, in which I pretended really hard to be not quite as cold and soaked and miserable as I was, convinced me that it was time to just suck it up and lay down the cash. And get this, it actually KEEPS OUT THE RAIN. Unlike the cheapo Gap piece of crap I'd been wearing since I was 17. And did I mention that the new jacket is periwinkle and sky blue and a even little bit glow-y and really, really pretty? And it has a hood with a cute little brim to keep the rain off my face. And, even more importantly, off my glasses. Glasses wearers of the world, I'm sure you'll agree with me that anything that keeps your glasses dry in the rain, thus saving you the trouble of searching frantically for some dry corner of something to mop them off with, is a wondrous thing.

3. My new Lypsyl lip balm that I got through Bzzagent. It has a dumb name, but that is totally made up for by the adorable little bumblebee slider on the side. You slide the bee up to make the lip balm rise up in the tube. The only thing that would make it better would be if it made a buzzing sound when you push the bee. I have a few more free samples, if anyone wants a bumblebee lip balm of their very own. (Sorry, you can't see the bumblebee slider in the picture I linked to. You'll just have to take my word that I didn't make it up).

4. Cheesecake. Is there anything that can't be made better with a slice of cheesecake? Because I really can't think of anything right now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Good thing I bought a rain coat last week

Apparently I wasn't listening when they told me it rains a lot in California in the winter. Or I just pretended not to hear because I really, really, didn't like Washington DC and wanted to live, oh, anywhere but there.

In any case, it has been raining for days and days and DAYS here. Real, dismal, grey sky all day kind of rain. Sandbags all around the doors into work so the building doesn't flood and wreck the new carpet kind of rain. Might as well not bother blow-drying my hair kind of rain. Even with my shiny new (expensive) raincoat (Yay Marmot!), I came into work looking a lot like a very wet, unhappy rat today. I think I might have to start wrapping myself in plastic wrap from head-to-toe before leaving the house.

Actually, I feel sort of tricked here. I mean, everyone told me when I moved here last year that winter in California is rainy, rainy, rainy. And then last winter, it rained maybe 10 times from December through February. And I was like, riiiiiight, rainy, all the while thinking that Californians have become soft on this whole "weather" thing. And now, this. This is SO not what I signed up for.

The good news is, with all this rain, I suddenly feel justified in buying a really cute pair of Wellies. I have secretly wanted a pair of Wellies for years and years. I am dying for a navy blue pair with green whales on them. Kind of like these. How very J-Crew of me, right? (Other than the essential truth that I'm not willing to spend 60-100 dollars on a pair of rain boots. 100 dollars! For that kind of money, I can fly to someplace where they don't have "weather." LA, for example. Or Vegas.)

God, when was the last time I owned rain boots? Oh, that's right, NEVER. Moon-boot style snow boots, on the other hand . . . Anyone have a suggestion on where to get super-cute rain boots for, like, 10 bucks? If navy blue with green whales are not available, rainbows, polka dots, and stripes would also be acceptable.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cause for rejoicing

The days are getting noticably longer again -- hurray! Right around this time of year, I always start to feel the winter gloom lifting. Pretty soon, the sun will be setting late enough in the evenings for me to actually be home from work in time to see this again. Instead of, you know, watching the sun set over the industrial park from my office window.:
Well, maybe not this exactly, as this is the sunset view from my current living room window. As of February 1, I shall have a new living room window with all new views. I am not (thank goodness!) moving across the country again. In fact, this might be my shortest move EVER - 15 minutes down the road. Off of the lovely, lovely ranch I've been living on for the past year. But into downtown (I can walk to the movies! To the bookstore! To the PUB!). My commute will be half as long. Alas, the trade off is that I suspect the sunsets will be only half as spectacular, even if I do get home to them sooner.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

trouble is her middle name

This is Scout on the railing in my bedroom. Better than Scout falling off the railing, which is what she did last week. 15 feet to the hardwood living room floor below. Lucky little beastie just scraped up her face a little and gave herself a concussion. Cost me $85 at the emergency vet to make sure she wasn't dying from internal bleeding or anything. And, as you can see, her impromptu parachuteless skydive has not put the fear in her in any way.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

From the Archives -- Great Falls, MD

Nothing especially new and exciting to post today, but I'm trying to keep up the posting streak I've been on lately, so here's a photo from the archives. I took this picture at Great Falls, which is on the border between Maryland and Virginia, right outside Washington, DC, sometime in the spring of 2006. Great Falls was one of my favorite places to hike when I lived there -- How could I resist that gorgeous aquamarine river? And it was only maybe 20 minutes from where I lived. The kayakers loved the river, too. Some days I would take a break from hiking and sit up above the water to watch the whitewater kayakers. They'd come shooting down the rapids, paddles whirring, rocketing back and forth across the frothy water. Sometimes they'd flip upside down and I'd hold my breath until they righted themselves again. I was never quite sure if they flipped because of the rapids or if they did it on purpose, for the sheer thrill of it. There aren't a lot of things I miss about Washington, but Great Falls definitely makes the list.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Open Letter to Mother Nature at 3am

Dear Mother Nature,

I realize that I spent all day yesterday making fun of the San Francisco weather people as they doomed and gloomed over the HUGE WINTER STORM!!! coming to Northern California. I may even have called them pussies or something similar for being so DRAMATIC over a little rain. So sue me if I said they didn't know anything about winter weather and that if they really wanted something to talk about, they should go live in Minnesota or Maine (or some other cold-weather state that begins with an M) for a while. And I do realize that I laughed the whole way home yesterday, as a light spring-like rain fell on my car and the weather people STILL talked about what an awful storm this was. 2-hour delays at the airport and a couple inches of rain. Big deal.

So, of course, I understand that you had to take some kind of action. You couldn't let me mock you like that with no response. I mean, it would totally wreck your reputation, right?

But, really, are the 80 mile per hours winds rocketing around my house so hard that my BED is shaking really necessary? And did you have to wait until 3am to destroy the caulking job my landlord did on my bedroom window last time we had a hard rain? It would have been easier for me to clean up the gallons of rain that poured in if it had happened at, say, 9pm. When I was still dressed and relatively, you know, AWAKE. And really, I don't know if the cat can take the excitement of ALL THAT WATER dropping down from the sky INSIDE THE HOUSE. It's like drinking directly from the faucet, only a million times better. Her poor little kitty head might explode. Really. Not to mention all that howling and thrashing out there. I've never heard the wind so loud before. The pine trees are bent sideways and I'm pretty sure that at least one or two goats have flown past my window, their little legs kicking frantically, like they're in some demented version of The Wizard of Oz. So really, you've made your point. You are mighty and winter storms in California really can suck. Now can you keep it down out there so I can sleep?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More mushrooms

I spent New Years Day hiking in Samuel Taylor State Park near Olema. It was a lovely hike, to the top of Barnabe Peak. About 6 miles roundtrip, pretty easy grade switchbacks on the way up. One minor detour for a massive (and recently) fallen tree. The top of the tree had fallen right across the trail, and myself and a couple other hikers spent a good 10 minutes trying to shove our way through before finally giving up. I ended up climbing up a steep, ferny hillside and going over the fallen trunk of the tree. Adventure! Anyway, these mushrooms were growing on the underside of yet another fallen tree across the trail. I love that they somehow still grow upward, stems curving, even though it's shaded enough under there that they can't possibly be growing toward the light. It gave me a really great view of their cute ribbed underbellies.

Reading Update 1/3/07

Been having trouble getting into anything lately. I've sort of been dabbling in a bunch of different books, but not much has really grabbed me. I'm about halfway through The Painted Drum, by Louise Erdrich. I always expect to like her books more than I actually do. In fact, I don't think I've been able to get through one yet. I like her writing and find it quite beautiful at moments, but something about her characters never quite grabs me. I'm also partway through a young adult novel called Feed. Can't remember the author on that one, but it won a big kid's lit award a few years back. And partway through Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which is interesting, but a slow read for me. And obviously, since it's nonfiction, not great when I just feel like getting lost in a good story. Here's what I have finished recently:

Dealing with Dragons -- Patricia Wrede
Cute young adult fantasy lit. I would have loved this book as a kid, but it didn't come out till I was well into high school. A friend here at work recommended it, since she loved it as a kid, so I checked it out.

Dry -- Augusten Burroughs
Randomly picked this one up at work. It was abandoned by a coworker when he left, and I was bored and started reading, not expecting much. But it grabbed me immediately. Think James Frey, only much less self-aggrandizing than A Million Little Pieces. I read almost the whole thing while waiting at the airport and then on my flight to Portland for Christmas.

Running with Scissors -- Augusten Burroughs
Ugh. This Burroughs book, on the other hand, was pretty atrocious. I can't believe it got all kidns of positive attention a few years ago. The family in the story was just disturbing and reprehensible and the book wasn't even remotely funny, though that's the hype it got. Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. I'm so glad I read Dry first, even though it's techically a sequel to this book. Otherwise, I never would have picked it up at all. I can't believe I spent money on this book.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Best grafitti so far this year

I love this graffiti! It's on a wall in Point Reyes Station and someone has hijacked the original sign for their own purposes. Everytime I see it, it makes me laugh. Yesterday, I finally got around to taking a picture of it. By the way, there is a whole lot of parking going on in front of the sign, but I've never witnessed any barking there :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

White Christmas

Cross country skiing at Teacup Lake, on Mount Hood. Christmas Day 2007. Look at all that beautiful snow! I miss snow. Please, Santa, send me a freak Northern California snowstorm for the new year. I've been a very good girl :-)