Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer vacations

I'm not taking any classes right now (but I am crashing some general chemistry lectures, in an attempt to brush up on the stuff before I take organic chemistry in the fall). Also, I'm not working (but reading a general chemistry textbook cover to cover definitely feels like work). Scott is minimally employed. Hence, we have time for fun stuff!

DC Adventures (Friday, 8/8 - Thursday 8/14)
First and foremost, I got to visit so many wonderful people - my aunt and uncle, my frisbee communities, my Delafield friends, even my Bohemian Caverns Belgian beer aficionado friends.

Second, I got to visit a bunch of Smithsonian art museums. My favorite was the Martin Puryear show at the National Gallery, followed closely by a Jim Henson exhibit. (Did you know the original Kermit was sewn from Henson's mother's worn-out spring coat?) Actually, I think the recently opened Renwick gallery for American crafts ties for first - small, but extremely well-curated. I forgot how much I enjoy seeing art.

Third, I got to eat some of my favorite foods: pizza from Coppi's, gueuze (a very sour Belgian beer) at Brasserie Beck (where there are nine gueuzes on the menu!), hummus from the Greek Deli downtown (which I consumed in the beautiful little "secret garden" just south of Dupont Circle), and hot, crunchy, delicious falafel sandwich from Amsterdam Falafel in Adams Morgan.

All in all, an extremely satisfying vacation.

Chico Tournament aka Best Tournament Ever (Saturday, 8/16 - Sunday, 8/17)
I got home from DC late on Thursday night, did laundry on Friday, and then left for Chico at 5am Saturday morning. Our first game was at 8am. Fortunately, our team was caffeinated and sufficiently warmed-up, and we ended up winning all four games!

We finished early afternoon and ate lunch at the Sierra Nevada brewery. Then we went swimming at Bear Hole - a gorgeous stream running through a mini-gorge, with lots of opportunities for exploring, jumping off high rocks, and napping in the sun.

As if we hadn't had enough fun so far, we proceeded to a teammate's aunt's house - a 14,000 square foot, took six years to build, custom-built house overlooking a canyon. She and her husband fed us pizza and beer and stuffed zucchini and salad and fresh strawberry pie. We explored the house, relaxed on one of several balconies while the sky faded to black, and watched Olympics.

We won our first two games on Sunday and then lost in the finals - disappointing, but it's hard to feel bad when your team has already won six games in a row. We stretched, drank beer and generally wound-down on the fields for a bit before heading home.

Fun in Sacramento! (Saturday, 8/23 - Sunday, 8/24)
We checked out the California State Fair on Saturday. I got to see goats, earless goats, pygmy goats, horses, cows, seals, chickens, chinchillas, guinea pigs, kittens, bats and hatching quails. We saw a fish taco cooking demonstration, Chinese acrobats and some pretty neat art and crafts. The food options didn't hold a candle to the MN State Fair, and I was generally disappointed by the scale of things. You'd think a state as big as this would have a giant state fair, but Minnesota's really does take the cake. High quality food (even though it's all served on a stick), tons of beautiful quilts, more extensive displays. Still, it was a fun day at the fair.

We headed back to Sac on Sunday. Our first stop was the farmers market, which (as reported) is much bigger and less frou-frou than Davis's. We loaded up on tomatoes, basil, peaches and figs. Our car smelled wonderful. Second stop was the Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, where we spent about two hours learning about John Sutter and his (mis)adventures in the Central Valley. Lots of interesting artifacts and audio commentary - definitely a place worth visiting, especially if you don't know as much as you should about your state's history.

Live in Reno! (Wednesday, 8/27)
Last night, Scott and our friend Sharon and I drove over to Reno for an outdoor Neko Case concert. We had a nice drive through the Sierras and dinner at a funky vegetarian diner (the Pneumatic Diner, highly recommended, if you're ever in the area) before arriving at the amphitheater. It's a small venue, and we had great seats. The show was short, but high quality. An excellent mini-adventure.

Escaping the Heat in San Francisco (Thursday, 8/28 - Sunday, 8/31)
It's supposed to hit 104°F here today, so I'm happy to have an excuse to evacuate to San Francisco. Mavis and Maya are having a presidential candidate party - we get to watch Obama give his acceptance speech, and we get to dress up as our favorite presidential candidate (past, present, future or imaginary). I think I'll go as MacGyver.

We'll spend the night there, and go see a Frida Kahlo show at the SF MOMA in the morning. Not sure what's in store for the rest of Friday, but I'm sure we can find something fun to do!

We'll spend another night there, and then head to a tournament at Golden Gate Park on Saturday morning. Scott still can't play - his hamstring pulls are better, but now he's recovering from a calf pull. Poor guy.

Culinary Adventures Wrap-Up (Ongoing)
Scott and I paid a visit to the UCD Meat Lab (a USDA-certified processing plant on campus, where students learn about meat processing) and bought some extremely fresh brats and chorizo sausages. We hosted a little barbecue in order to eat them. We grilled a bunch of veggies as well. Scott's talent as a master marinator is becoming apparent - he has a gift for throwing together fantastic marinades.

Peach cobbler
Pizza with fresh tomatoes and homemade ricotta
Fresh figs and goat cheese on toast
Stir-fried yam leaves - sweet and very tasty!

That's all for now. My computer is running out of battery power, it's almost noon and I'm still in my pajamas, and I have nothing more to say. Be well!

No comments: