Saturday, September 30, 2006

Happy Blogiversary or whatever you say

March flowers, chez nm.

I have been blogging for a year now. I have about 12 dedicated readers who will admit to knowing me and comment.

Thanks for putting up with me.

I have nothing profound to say other than today's post is very much like last years postings around the same time. I went to the farmer's market (this time with TH, B, her parents-F&J and E.dd), Trader Joe's and then the Arboretum Bulb Sale.

There we spent enough to pay for seventeen hundred goats for goat herders in small emerging country or two, but who's counting? The best parts were having the Foundation Director say hi to us and then promptly asked if we had brought Ernest and seeing M&G and the dogs who we hadn't seen in forever.

For as much as blogging about my mundane and pathetic at times life has been fun for me and maybe fun for you to read, my life hasn't really changed and I'm okay with that.

Check it out.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Getting organized

Hack away :

I'm still sick. In fact, I think I'm sicker than before. I am having a hard time kicking this thing I have. Normal routine for me, go on a trip longer than two days, get sick for 21 days.

Things here are interesting for the end of the month, the beginning of a new fiscal year, school year and fall.

I'm looking at calendars are trying to figure if out if I should hack a moleskine to make it work for me, or just go with the new weekly format which I despise.

While I have been at work today, dilgently crunching through a model that is on step 202 of 1800, I have been intrigued by the number of moleskine hacks I have come across, including using a moleskine with David Allen's GTD to increase productivity.

In honor of the new fiscal year (FY07, if you are keeping track), I'm going to try this at home.

What I am really waiting for are the new -Moleskine city notebooks do it yourself guidebooks - great for those of us who travel to the same places over and over again. Here is a great flickr page that shows you a sneak preview. How I wish I could get one for Paris by October 25th, at least I'll pick up my London one in November (I hope).


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Crying on the way home from Trader Joes

I may be hormonal, but this piece by Firoozeh Dumas had me bawling all the way home from the grocery store. I know the world revolves around Marjane Satrapi and Persepolis (pronouce with me - Purse-Police), but I think that Firozeh and I may be separated at birth. We were born in the same hospital in the same year and by god, we both have the lowps (cheeks) of a well-fed Iranian girl.

Famous author, NPR commentator, Firoozeh Dumas.
Infamous blogger (or wishes she was) and basset hound wrangler, NM.

What do you think?


just for aunt pat

Ernest and scruffy together on flickr.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pulling at the heartstrings

Dual monitor basset love fest, September 2006.

How I miss you my tiny dog! Smooches on your wrinkled brow.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

publish or perish

Today I was informed that I need to start publishing more. What a surprise. I left a research position years ago to do data management/IT research and now I have to publish again. When am I given time to get something ready for publication? Its not like I can carve out 20% of my work week to work on papers in progress.

I guess I'll start looking for journals that will accept innovative IT applications to solving problems in my field and start finding yet more time to spend on another unfunded mandate. Not that I don't spend 15% of my time already doing that. Maybe looking for a job doing consulting is not such a bad idea....

Other than that, it is warm here -- much too warm for me, but it'll soon by grey and rainy again.
TH is having a great time, she's in Wyoming for the second day and tomorrow night, it'll be yellowstone for her. I am soo jealous.

It will be the last weekend home for a while, time to put the garden to bed, deal with outdoor stuff and get reacquainted with ernest the puppy.

God, I miss him.


Monday, September 25, 2006

vacation interruptus

Two things made our vacation a bit defective.

1. I caught a cold on Wednesday before we left and though I fought the cold part off valiantly, I have spent the last five days or so hacking out my lungs. I am home today working because, no one needs to listen to me.

2. Email checking and the end of the year procurement woes. TH has let some contracts out for work that seemed to just be fine until the last minute. Not that she did anything wrong, its just that even though you do your part, things just seem to blow up. We don't get our funding until late in the fiscal year and then boom -- you have to spend it all (lucky you think, but it is not that great). She spent a few hours writing emails in SLC, checking her voice mail and email in Moab, making phone calls to procurement and contracts and contractors in Las Vegas, NM and now, at 11,000 feet somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, she's taking a phone call about a contract that seems to have blown up. Life was easier when we couldn't stay connected.

If she wasn't so responsible she just would let this go, but she can't.

I feel bad for her.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I may look insane, but my brows are great.

Back home this afternoon with a bushel of mild green chile and the proud owner of one of those coolers that I fear when I check into hotels -- the ones on wheels that look like rollaboards.

TH is in Leadville, CO hoping to go up through Rocky Mountain National Park if the weather cooperates.

The only thing of note I did today was reschedule my brow wax for today instead of tomorrow. My god, I was about a week overdue.

Lovely summer/fall day here in the Emerald City, but my refrigerator smells like chile.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

This morning we left our very nice and cheap room at the ABQ Hyatt and started our trek up I-25 towards Vegas. We stopped for the requisite Frontier cinnamon roll, no frosting and a cup of coffee. Can you see that this trip is about food and driving?

We drove up to Las Vegas and frankly, after the last Pecos exit I fell asleep. I love the drive from Santa Fe to Pecos, so at least I saw the scenic parts. We arrived at the plaza in time to take a nap and then deal with TH's end of the fiscal year contracting fiasco that required three individual phone calls to Utah and Seattle and led me to wonder why go on vacation at the end of the fiscal year?

Las Vegas charms me. The first time we went was on the suggestion of Chris Wilson from UNM who thought we might enjoy the plaza and the historic district and a few drives around Rociada. It was a cold March day and the chile from the El Rialto was hot and kept me up most of the night, but the morning was beautiful. We walked around, taking in the railroad town architecture and eating huevos rancheros at the now defunct Spic and Span.

I later spent time in Las Vegas when I was doing field work at Valmora. I loved the drive, I loved the chile and "vibe" of Vegas. I was happy to return, sad to see that Eli's was gone (apparently he got a job with the city) and happy to see alot of work done in the historic district in terms of preservation.

If you are ever in Santa Fe, want to leave the faux Georgia O'Keefeness of the place, see what made New Mexico - railroading, mining, speculation and health, point that car north up to Las Vegas and enjoy the green chile without beans at the El Rialto.


Monday, September 18, 2006

As seen at the sharpie display at the Office Max in Salt Lake City, September 2006.

In Moab tonight. Good food at the Moab Diner, great independent micro roasted coffee and books at the Arches Bookstore (cut up your starbucks card at the bookstore and get a five dollar gift card) and a nice mellow night.

I'm sitting here waiting for my laundry to dry and wondering why every place must advertise free wifi.


monday morning

First good coffee and pear/apricot tart east of the Cascades, SLC September 2006.

As JK has posted I spent the first three days of my road trip freaking freezing. Yes, Virginia, there is snow up in the hills and at elevation depending on where you are.

We went to the Steens. There was plenty of blowing snow and temps of 25 degrees at the top. We'll go back earlier in the year. But we did have fun.

I'm now in SLC. Enjoying a few days of internet access and a comfortable bed thanks to RD and his travel schedule.

I like this place. The housing stock is phenomenal, inexpensive, the food is great and there is independent coffee. I just keep on thinking I'm going to see Heather, Jon and Leta walking up the street.

So, off to Moab, Mesa Verde and then to New Mexico - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Scorroro, Las Vegas, Pecos and maybe Rociada. Who knows? All I know is that its going to get warmer and I'll be happier.

I have spent the first day of the last three seasonal changes- Spring, Summer and Fall away from home and that sort of bums me out.

I'll try and post from the road, but who knows. I know I want to write about Eastern Oregon, landscape change, food memories of the past, the great salt lake, sex in public art and the west.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ah, thanks for the reminder

American Airlines just emailed me to remind (hound ?) me that I need 35,000 miles this year to make their top tier. If they spent less time sending out emails and more time checking my tickets purchased so far, they would see that I need only 872 miles to make their top tier.

No, I'm not going to route myself through three small cities in the midwest. I'm going to drag TH to Chicago for a night at the Park Hyatt and a trip to the field museum instead. I'll credit one half to Alaska, thus finishing up my year with them and the other half to American.

How difficult is that for them to figure out?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

east to southwest

Tilt a whirl, the sunflowers, September 2006.

Without too much effort we will drive east of the mountains, south and head to eastern Oregon on Thursday. TH fell in love with the Steens when she was there for her field course "boot camp" for grad school. Coincidentally, the trip fell during september 2001, so it is a bittersweet return.

I know every person in the world has blogged about what they were doing that day. I was in Seattle, TH was in Oregon and all I wanted was for her to be home and safe.

Anyways, the trip is on, we're heading east towards Pendleton and Baker City, the the Steens, Northern Nevada, Salt Lake City, Great Salt Lake, New Mexico, Albuquerque, Soccoro, Santa Fe (Pecos) and Las Vegas.

TH is leaving me to go up to Wyoming. Oh how I wish I had the leave to do the same.

This time we are renting a car, not risking any transmission losses or ujoint issues and hopefully not logging in until my return.

Hang tight till then, but yes, JK, I will tell you all about it.


for my 366th post

Anemone, September 2006.

I will say not much of anything. I am tired (I say that alot), stressed (that too), and moderately under/overworked (over somedays and bored to death others). I leave for a ten day road trip with TH this week and even though life is basically on an even keel, I feel like its tottering.

My family is scattered this month. My parents are vacationing in London and Turkey, my brother in the midwest and then to Canada for the week, others are leaving for Italy (insert jealous sigh), Mexico and Alaska and my dog is with his sister destroying blueberry bushes.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I just need to chill.

Don't you think?


Monday, September 11, 2006

lucky me

I know no one can comment on my blog. I am sorry, just be anonymous, clear your cookies and just don't tell me to fuck off.

If I write you a check, say for 600 bucks and its laying on your desk, cash it please, will ya?

I am lucky enough to have a slush fund in my checking account, but still, I know that there are at least 1100 bucks in checks floating around the left coast that need to come home, sooner than later.

Other than that, looking at my salad for lunch and wondering if m&ms would be better...


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ernest has been whisked away to Goldendale and we have the week to prepare for our trip to the Southwest without the pitter pattering of little paws and lots of running out to check on what he's gotten into.

I have winnowed down his plastic bottle collection and removed his last trophy squash from his bed.

I do miss the little bugger.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

christine ferber, you can kiss my ass

I spent today canning peaches and making peach butter. Nothing complicated and I know in January I will be happy. As much as I love hoity toity preserving, when push comes to shove, the Ball Blue book is the bible of canning (old testament) as is the Farm Journal Canning book (the new testament). There is no need for quince juice, apple puree or copper pots and honestly, if you are going to be faced with 25 lbs of peaches, fast and easy is the way to go.

Have you ever seen a basset hound bark at a canning jar? He was very afraid. Quite amusing.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

fallen pleasures

Fig/Raspberry tart, August 2006.

While I sit and listen to Ernest the puppy sneeze thirteen times in a row (yoghurt up the nose?) I am hearing TH sigh happily as she finishes her piece of fig raspberry tart. My first exposure to such a beast was in June 1992 when I flew to Berkeley after TH's mother died. While I never had the honor of meeting her, that day began a seven year relationship with her father that started with a meal at Chez Panisse and continued on with love of food, bassets, landscape history, France and geography and his daughter to bind us.

I had only heard of Chez Panisse before that day and that meal upstairs was very good. I can't remember what my main course was, but the dessert was a fig tart with raspberries and lavender honey ice cream was memorable. I have made it for the last fourteen and change years. The recipe is simple and elegant and brings back memories of a more innocent time with a start of a great relationship.

Fig tart with Raspberries (adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts, 1984.)

One lb puff pastry (thawed - I use delaurenti's and one lb is the right amount). Pepperidge farm will do as well. One sheet.
3/4 pint fresh figs (mission, but if you have kadota, why not mix it up?)
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 T raspberry eau de vie or cointreau
2 T sugar
one egg yolk mixed with 1 T milk for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F

Rinse figs, cut off tops, cut into quarters, macerate in a mixture of eau de vie and sugar. Add raspberries.

Roll or fold out pastry, score the ends and sides and fold over so you have an edge. Place figs with cut sides up in rows (overlapping if you can) and sprinkle the raspberries on top. Wash the edges of the tart with egg wash.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry starts to brown and figs are softened but still hold their shape.

Serve with lavender honey ice cream, vanilla ice cream or on its own.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Tiny dog in the gravel pit. September 2006.

God, can the week zip by please? I can use a vacation from my three day weekend.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

happy saturday

It is hot here. I am getting ready to hit the farmer's market and TJs (corporate shopping! on the smaller scale! non texas style!) and then head home to check on e.dd.

TH is doing a mr to BOS and back today. She just called to inform me that Alaska swapped planes and put the 737-800 on the flight which means her bulkhead is not a bulkhead and the person in front of her in First is reclining into her.

Fun! not!

Imagine if you had an exit row on the old 737-700 configuration and it has now been swapped for 25e! I would be livid. Maybe you would be too.

Did you notice that I'm using a lot of exclamation points this morning?

Anyways, if you really need that exit row or want a bulkhead, go to Seatguru to look at the configurations. Also check the aircraft the airline purports on their website to put you on and then call and double check, because things change as loads change.

At least her upgrade is secured for her return.

Off to the market to get peaches, peppers, flowers and cherry tomatoes for the boy.