Friday, May 29, 2009

Photos from the past week (hiking & quilting)

We'd planned on doing some hiking in the Sierras over Memorial Day weekend (just Sunday - Monday), but arrived to find that it was still too snowy. Even the road to the campground we wanted to stay at was impassable. We hiked across a little snow to get to the top of a ridge, and then hiked to the top of a different hill where there was a fire watchtower.

We drove into the foothills and found a great campsite on a lake. We ate some chocolate-covered coffee beans and then set off on a hike around the lake. No trail, just scrambling over boulders and picking our way along tree roots. It was warm enough for me to take a dip! (Only the dogs joined me though, none of my human companions.)

Lentils, TVP, coconut milk and veggies for dinner - yum.

We took a 6.8 mile hike along the South Yuba River on Monday. I was diappointed that so much of the trail was so high above the river, but it was definitely nice to be out. We got to have lunch on the beach, so I got to take another swim. The water was cold (as cold as Lake Superior), so I didn't stay in long.

Yay Memorial Day!

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent studying for an orgo test that turned out to be not as hard as I had anticipated. Spent Wednesday afternoon giving my apartment a much-needed cleaning, then went out and played ultimate.

On Thursday and Friday, I made a quilt for Lindsay's baby! Pure coincidence that it matches the lilies so nicely.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Uganda update

I got to talk to Scott this morning! It was a really terrible connection, though, and we couldn't understand a lot of what the other person was saying. Still, it was great to hear his voice. We've been chatting online quite a bit, which helps a lot. He says the people he's working with are wonderful, and yesterday he got to go out and test his survey questions - apparently they learned a ton from visiting just three families, which was good since the supervisor he was with has malaria and the medication he was on meant he wasn't feeling very well. Tomorrow he's off to a field day, where farmers and agricultural extention agents get together to share knowledge. These events don't happen very often, so he feels pretty lucky that one's happening while he's there.

(Scott - I hope this is mostly accurate... you can post corrections in the comments section!)

Aside: In Scott's absence, I've learned just how much I depend on him to do dishes. I don't mind cooking OR cleaning up afterwards, but it's such a chore to have to do both!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bachelorette Days

Lots going on, mostly good!

Last Friday, Kelly hosted a bachelorette party for Katie and I. The drink of the night was the O Fizz (O because it was in Oprah's magazine), which went down very easy. We played one silly bachelorette game and ate Myra's beautiful strawberry rhubarb pie and then went out dancing! Excellent night - many thanks to the hostess!

On Saturday, Scott left for his bachelor camping trip, and I left for a birthday party on a ranch. The trip out was longer than expected (because at 5am that morning, a FedEx truck carrying a load of fertilizer had overturned and exploded... amazing to see the charred asphalt and the skeleton of the truck, and even more amazing that the driver wasn't injured! Anyways, the highway was down to one lane... long drive). So the first thing we did upon arrival was jump into the swimming pond. We didn't really leave the vicinity for the rest of the weekend. We played croquet, and then jumped in the pond, and then got a tour of the ranch, and then jumped in the pond, and then grilled dinner, and then jumped in the pond. When it got dark, we had a pond-side fire complete with s'mores, and then we went to sleep there. I jumped in the pond before breakfast on Sunday morning. Many, many thanks to Tyler for hosting!

Robert, having artfully caught a disc, jumps into the pond:

In one of the barns:

Scott left for Uganda first thing on Monday morning. I dropped him off at the train station at 5:30 am and tried not to mope too much the rest of the day. I'm pretty sure this is the longest I've ever lived alone, and it felt really empty around here at first. Fortunately, I've got lots of stuff to keep me busy and happy:

1. Lots of friends, and plenty of "call me if you get lonely and want to hang out" invitations. (I get to have dinner with Lindsay & Nathan on Friday!)

2. MCAT studying. I'm going to take the sucker in August, so I'm trying to get myself to study for a few hours each day. Good thing the book starts with physics - I always like doing physics problems.

3. CrossFit. As the "fitness coordinator" for Night Train this year, it's my job to get my teammates in shape for the ultimate season. Now that there's a CrossFit gym in Davis (hooray!), I figured it would be cool to organize a group to train there together. And it turns out my teammates think it would be cool too! We'll start up next week, and it looks like we'll have about 10 people. I'm super psyched - this is going to be fun.

4. Scott's good-bye gifts. They include coconut sorbet and dark chocolate. But I think my favorite item is the bouquet of lilies. They were mostly closed up when he gave them to me, but every day a few more burst open - they're bright pink and glamorous and they smell amazing. Lilies are my favorite flowers, and these are some of the nicest I've ever seen.

5. Good food. I bought quail eggs from the meat lab last week, because they were out of chicken eggs. Quail eggs are adorable. They're kind of a pain to crack, and they don't taste any different than chicken eggs, but once you get them fried up and served on toast, there's nothing cuter. My favorite snack (and dessert) these days is homemade yogurt + homemade rhubarb sauce + granola. Now that yogurt is so cheap to make, I feel like I don't have to ration my consumption. The rhubarb sauce includes bluberries, ginger and a little sugar and lemon juice, and I bet it would taste good over coconut sorbet.

6. Tickets to Seattle. Potlatch, one of the biggest, coolest ultimate tournaments in the world, is just six weeks away, and last night I bought Scott's and my plane tickets!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Odds & Ends

I finally found a yogurt recipe that works! Heat your milk to 180-190F, let it cool to 115-120F, stir in some yogurt, wrap everything up in a towel to insulate it, and let it sit for a few hours. (The recipe says 4 hours should do it, but I let mine go all night.) It's tasty and definitely cheaper than store-bought. Next time, I'm going to strain it (so that it gets even thicker) and use the protein-rich whey to make bread.

Speaking of bread, I have a loaf of whole wheat beer bread in the oven right now. We bought some "barley wine style" beer that was a little too sweet for our palattes, but I'm guessing it will be fantastic in bread. (In the recipe above, I delete the sugar and add random spices. Black pepper and rosemary tonight.)

Other stuff...
This weekend was the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis, which means a whole bunch of hippies come and hang out. There are a bunch of booths selling arts and crafts, good vegetarian food, and six different stages offering all kinds of music and perfomances. It's a wonderful atmosphere - peace, love, sustainability, sunshine. Some highlights:
1. Scott and I talked to a potter from Eugene, OR who's going to make our wedding dinnerware for us! His work is gorgeous, and we're really excited. (We tried shopping for dinnerware at the big box stores, and it was completely boring and uninspiring. Not sure what we'll do for flatware... let me know if you have suggestions.)
2. This morning we got to watch the UCD gamelan orchestra perform. It's this neat music from West Java, and the entire orchestra (various gongs and xylophone sorts of things) is created as a set, and tuned to the rest of the orchestra. (You can't take a gong from my set and play it with your set, because it would be completely out of tune.) I had no idea UCD had an orchestra! Neat to see it live.
3. Last night, we saw LYNX & Janover, who do hip-hop music with lots of odd bits - turns out Janover is an excellent hammered dulcimer plaer, and it turns out that hammered dulcimer sounds really cool in hip-hop!

Scott and I finally planted our garden yesterday morning. Corn, beans and squash (planted all together), 10 tomato plants, 2 eggplants, 2 peppers, 1 strawberry, some basil, some potatoes (they were sprouting under our sink, so we threw them in the ground to see what happens), some carrots and some flowers. Our little patio herb garden is starting to show some signs of life, but I think it needs a bunch of compost and more sun. If we can get a few flowers or a little basil out there, it will be worth it.

Scott bought his ticket to Uganda - he's leaving in a week and will be gone for about a month. I'll finish the quarter, spend a week in MN and thencome back and start summer session in that time. Hopefully that will be enough stuff to keep me from pining too much.

A CrossFit gym just opened in Davis, and I went to my first class last week. It's totally addictive, and I can't wait to go back!

That's enough for now. The bread is starting to smell good...