Thursday, November 29, 2007

Deep tissue massage

I've been meaning to get a massage since we moved to Davis three months ago.  At first, I wanted one because moving in was hectic.  Then I wanted one because work was crazy.  Today, I wanted one because I've finally gotten back in the habit of working out on a regular basis, and my legs were very tight from two days of running workouts.  (Here's one of them.

I found a masseuse in Davis with an introductory special of $75 for 2 hours and an opening tonight - the opportunity was just too good to pass up.  He did lots of work on my legs (and commented that he probably could have spent the entire two hours working on them.  They were tight!)  How sad that tomorrow, I'll do another workout and get all sore again. In any case, it was worth it.

The funniest part was that, at the beginning, a brass band was warming up for the Tree Lighting Ceremony in the parking lot across the street.  We decided it was better to turn of the soothing flute music and just listen to them, instead of have a band-flute cacophony.

And, the icing on the cake, Scott just agreed to take a dip in the hot tub with me tonight.  Yay!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I think I'm official...

I went to the DMV this morning and showed them my smog test paperwork. After some paperwork, inspecting the car, and more paperwork, I got a new pair of license plates and installed them. Then we did some more paperwork. After that, I did more paperwork so that they'll send me a drivers license with my name spelled correctly. If all goes as planned, I won't have to return to the DMV for a long time. That's a big "if" though.

Here's the Panzer with shiny new California plates! I think the blue MN plates suited it better, but right now we're enjoying the flashy CA look.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ten things I'm thankful for this year

  1. The Davis farmers market + Mark Bitman's How to Cook Everything - our semi-weekly entertainment and source of delicious dinners.
  2. Wireless - Working from home can get lonely, but wireless lets me do work from so many places - namely, Mishka's, where I run into people I know. Also, my family finally got wireless, so I can spend more time with them over Christmas!
  3. Telecommuting - Moving to Davis was scary, but being able to keep a terrific job with The Electric Sheep Company made the move ten times easier.
  4. Facebook - For allowing me to connect with old friends. There's no way I would have hung out with Seth in Las Vegas or Catie in Berkeley without it.
  5. California's smog laws - Even though it's been a big headache to comply, I'm glad they exist.
  6. The health and safety of my family - Too easily taken for granted.
  7. The hot tub in our apartment complex - It took Scott and I two and a half months to use it, but it's really nice!
  8. Scott's classmates - For being so friendly and welcoming to a shy Significant Other.
  9. The climbing wall at the UC Davis gym - It's fun, it's a workout, it's a way to escape the house after a long day of work, and it's a great way to meet new friends.
  10. Scott - For buying weird dried fish at the Chinese grocery and frying them for me, whether I like it or not. For picking such a nice town to move to. For giving me backrubs when I beg. For always listening to me, whether I like it or not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve Day

Thanksgiving Eve Day couldn't have been nicer. We've been having perfect fall weather lately - crisp mornings, bright blue skies, warm afternoon sun.

I worked from home in the morning - here's a picture of my office, which looked particularly nice this morning with sun streaming in and lighting up the flowers.

Then I picked up the car from the repairmen, dropped it off at the smog place and worked from the public library for a few hours before my stomach got the better of me and I went to Crepeville for lunch (and good wifi that let me access my work email).

I picked up the car, rejoicing in its smog compliance, stopped at the farmers market for pumpkins, beets, carrots and tomatoes. (Heavy on the red/orange food family today.) I should have taken pictures at the market - it was even more beautiful than the flowers.

I got home, did a quick workout (my first CrossFit workout in months), and when Scott got home, and we made one of our favorite Bittman soups - greens with soy sauce, habaneros and lime.

Today made me realize that even though Davis is small and doesn't have many places to go downtown, it does mean that you run into people a lot more often than you would otherwise. I saw four of Scott's classmates at Crepeville, and another friend at the market. Maybe this will get stifling in a year or two, but for now, for someone whose coworkers are voices on the phone or hastily typed IMs, it's great.

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The Saaga Continues...

The Saab saga may be nearing completion!  Here's a recap of our story so far:

DMV: Go get a smog test.

SpeeDee: Your car failed the smog test.

SpeeDee: We can't figure out why your car failed the smog test.  (But we won't charge you for the diagnostic.)

Volvo California Swedish: Your oxygen sensor is broken, and your exhaust pipe is cracked and leaky, and your catalytic converter might be messed up too.

Advanced Auto Repair: We could replace the oxygen sensor, but your exhaust pipe will probably break in the process.

Muffler place (contracted by AAR): Here's a shiny new exhaust pipe!

Advanced Auto Repair: Here's a shiny new oxygen sensor!

SpeeDee: Your car passed the smog test!

Next week: What will the DMV say when I return?  Will they let me register my car in California?  Will they relent and give me a drivers license that says "Elizabeth" rather than "Elisabeth?"  Will Ruthie find yet another way to torment me?  Stay tuned...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weekend in San Francisco

I guess my post from Saturday deserves a little explanation.  I was thoroughly enjoying myself at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and felt compelled to photograph Naramsimha.  The story goes that the guy on his lap had received some sort of immortality "free pass" from the gods so that he couldn't be killed by man or by beast, in the daytime or at night.  Then he started acting up, and the gods decided he must be stopped, so Naramsimha changed into a half-man half-lion and at dusk ripped his guts out.

The rest of my San Francisco weekend was more mild-mannered.  I spent Friday at Valerie's house.  During the afternoon, I worked alongside a few other Electric Sheep, and that night Valerie and her husband threw a terrific dinner party, and even more Sheep came over.  I see my coworkers very rarely, so events like this are a treat.  (And Valerie and John are fantastic cooks and hosts.)

I spent Saturday at the museum, wandering through downtown San Francisco doing a little Christmas shopping, and having dinner with some of my oldest friends.  I grew up dancing ballet with Mavis, Nia and Lindsay.  I saw Mavis and Nia last year, but I hadn't seen Lindsay in a *really* long time, so we had a lot to catch up on.  For instance, she's married to a great guy named Andy!

Ballet girls + one husband

Above: Nia, Lindsay, me, Mavis, Andy

On Sunday, I got to have breakfast with Catie, who I haven't seen since we graduated from high school.  She's getting the same Ph.D. as Scott, except from UC Berkeley.  I'm happy to report that she will be in Duluth for Christmas, so I'll get to see her again before another 6 years go by.

Catie and I
I hopped on the Amtrak and was back in Davis in time for our IM frisbee team's first playoff game.  Since it's a single elimination series, and we lost, it was also our last playoff game.  But it was a perfect, sunny, crisp fall day, and I was happy to be out playing with great people.

Master Breeders - scary version

Above: the "scary" version of the team photo

Many thanks to my San Francisco hosts!  I can't wait to return and visit your fair city some more.

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40 out of 80 blocks finished!  I hope to get another 20 done over Thanksgiving weekend.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On a roll...

I stitched 10 more blocks last night!  I did them when I got home from climbing, so my fingers felt a little loosey-goosey, and my back was definitely aching by the time I finished, but now that I've started, I'm excited to finish.  (Also, I've turned the living room into my staging area - finished blocks on the floor, raw fabric on the coffee table.  This reminds me of the project, and makes it easier to pick it up and get going, and makes me feel a little guilty for leaving a mess out, which motivates me to finish.)

This diamond pattern is probably what the finished quilt will look like, but it will be 8x10 rather than 5x6.  There are a bunch of ways to assemble log cabin blocks (just do a Flickr search on "log cabin quilt"), but I'm leaning towards this one.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

25% Done

The quilt grew again last night!  20 blocks down, 60 to go...

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Home Ec Day

We thought today would be like most Saturdays - pickup Ultimate in the morning, a quick stop at the farmers market, and the afternoon spent working at Mishka's.

Somehow, the light drizzle kept the frisbee players away, so we got to the farmers market before all the good tomatoes had been taken.  We bought seven pounds of tomatoes, some cilantro, a hefty spaghetti squash, and three ripe persimmons.

We got home before noon and went straight to our market day bible, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.  The mustard greens from last week went into a spicy soy sauce soup, and the tomatoes went into pico de gallo. 

We decided to forego Mishka's since it was raining harder than before.  I worked a few hours and then pushed my computer aside to make way for a machine that hasn't seen the light of day since we arrived in Davis: Mom's sewing machine.  Mom was planning on making a log cabin quilt a few years ago, the summer that Margaret and I made our first quilts.  She had purchased and cut all the fabric, but my sister and I monopolized the sewing machine that summer, and Mom never got started on hers.  This summer, she took me up on my offer to piece the top for her.  Today, I finally started! 

Here's my progress so far.  My camera didn't capture the colors exactly, but this is the basic idea:

Log cabins are tedious patterns - each block has a lot of seams.  But they're not difficult, and it feels good to do work that's so different from my paid work.  My eyes assess colors, my fingers manipulate textiles, and my ears listen to the sewing machine the way I listen to my car when driving - the sounds can tell you a lot about how things are going.  Virtual worlds are great, but it feels good to have something tangible to show for your efforts at the end of the day.

I finished these blocks just before dinnertime.  I brought out Bittman again for a batch of black bean soup, which we served with a spinach and pea leaf salad.  Scott and I declared our love for the lesser greens (loosely defined as any leafy green that is not iceberg or romaine lettuce).

Now, back at my computer, I have another little home ec. project to my right - a potted herb garden.  The rosemary is dying (not enough sun?), but the mint, basil, sage and lavender are coming along nicely.