Monday, June 29, 2009

Giveaway!

So, I haven't had much to write about this past week, so I thought I'd make it up to all my loyal readers with a first-ever giveaway! I made these earrings during our jewelry-making-birthday-surprise a few weeks ago.
They are a first for me, using craft wire instead of soft-flex wire. The hooks are sterling silver, the beads are purple, and they dangle about 2.5 inches. Interested? The first person to correctly answer (in the comments field) the name of the play Chris took me to see in San Francisco on our honeymoon wins.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just Peachy


The other day we picked up a box of peaches at Costco. Chris said he couldn't eat that many peaches, but I said that's okay, I wanted to try to make some preserves. So, I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and got to work.
Jars sterilizing on back burner, peaches cooking on front burner.


Processing filled, sealed jars.

Cooling.

All done!

I was a little worried, because I don't have a canning pot, that the jars wouldn't process correctly because the water wasn't high enough - but they all sealed like they were supposed to. Success! The moment of truth was this afternoon, when I opened up a jar and tried it on a piece of toast. It was delicious! Unfortunately, it was also more watery than I'd like. So, a couple things I might do differently next time: the recipe says to slice the peaches, so that's what I did ... but I think I should have diced them because there are some pretty big pieces of peach right now. Also, I think I'll cook the peaches longer than it says ... maybe then it won't be so watery. And I'd also like to expirement making peach-plum or peach-apricot preserves next time. I am open to any suggestions from seasoned canners or any recipes you have to share!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Sunday afternoon in Reno

Sunday afternoon, Chris and I headed down to the West Street Farmer's Market to see what there was to see. We had a refrigerator full of fruit, so we didn't do much shopping, but enjoyed the live music and being outside on the first day without thunderstorms in weeks. (Also the first day of summer - coincidence?) I ignored my plan and we shared an order of beignets from the Brickhouse Bakery because Chris had never had one before and they are made to order and OMG so delicious when they come out fresh and hot and bathed in powdered sugar.

We went on a little walk down by the river, and then decided to walk over to the Montages, a condo development where there once was a casino. We happened to get there just when a tour was about to start, so we got to see a few units. They were nice and had big closets, but we decided that for our money we'd want more space ... although we would love to live right downtown (not that we're buying anytime in the immediate future, I am still on unemployment after all).

After that, I convinced Chris to go walk around an antique store for a bit, and was pretty excited when I found this because I've been looking for something big enough to hold my Valentine's roses that I can hang on the wall. (It's very Andrea-esque, no?)














Then we came home and had lunch and I decided to try my hand at some peach preserves. My recipe calls for it to refrigerate overnight before finishing, so I'll let you know how this experiment goes on another day. I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and for all the dads, a happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys

On Thursday night, I went to the Reno Rodeo to shoot a little video of the Xtreme Bulls (I think they must drink Mountain Dew) for the RGJ. Of course, I know nothing about the rodeo. It was a good thing I got there early, because I had to talk to about four people (while lugging gear all over the grandstands) to figure out where I should shoot from. It turns out, in a pit under the stands with about 10 other people and a window looking right onto the dirt - but directly across from the gates where the bulls come out. I'm not sure if the rodeo is my thing ... but I am quite sure I would have enjoyed it more sitting down with a beer than standing for three hours with my camera and trying to keep dirt out of my eyes and lens. There was one event where little kids ride sheep to see how long they can stay on. My coworker told me they shave the hair a certain way to allow for the kids to hold on. I didn't think this seemed like a good idea for the sheep or the kids. So, I texted Andrea (who knows a thing or two about sheep ... and rodeos) and asked if I was right to be disturbed. Her answer was no. "Mutton bustin' is the cutest thing ever! Don't be disturbed ... enjoy the cuteness!" I guess I still have a thing or two to learn ... but I'm sure I'll be able to pick up a couple more things when I shoot the finals next weekend. Here are a few pictures I managed to get in the middle of shooting video.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Update

Everytime I talk to anyone, they want to know how the job search is going and, well, it isn't. There's not much out there for someone with my qualifications and I haven't had much luck with what I've applied for. I got a letter from one place this week informing me there were 154 applicants and I was not being considered. Since school starts in two months, it might be a little silly for me to start something full time right now anyway, but I'm continuing to look and still working a few hours each week at the paper. I also started volunteering for Artown, though most of the work isn't until the festival starts in July.

Speaking of July, Chris and I have scheduled a trip to San Diego for our anniversary which we're pretty excited about! Also, as a funemployment bonus I'm going to stay in L.A. for a few days after Chris comes back to spend some time with friends and family. Yay!

In the meantime, this is what I've been up to this week (click on pictures to see them larger) ...

I finally finished my scrapbook from the inauguration:


I also finished my newspaper organization project, which consisted of me going through nearly five years' worth of newspapers, deciding what to keep, cutting the selected articles out, and placing them in a binder:

These three bags are full of papers I'm not saving (or the scraps from ones I am):
With all the leftover newspaper, I decided to try out this newspaper basket project I found last week. It's a little bigger than I imagined, but I think I know how to do it the way I want next time. Also, I somehow managed to get my byline visible in the bottom of the basket!


Do you have lots of leftover newspapers? Check out these other projects:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Archie

More posts about the Reno Aces, you say? Okay ... well tonight Chris was given a pair of tickets for one of the suites and we had a swell time (even though I didn't drink the free Dr. Pepper or eat the free chocolate chip cookies. Sigh.) And when the mascot started dancing, I realized I had deprived our readers of this freak show. The thing's name is Archie and apparently was designed specially for the Aces (why not a card with an Ace or something I have no idea) and is named for the famous downtown Reno Arch. It looks like ... a big blob, I guess. It also has this tongue that comes flying out randomly and concerned a few fans right from the get-go. It rarely makes an appearance anymore. But Archie is still out in full force. Enjoy.

video

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A beautiful Tahoe wedding

On Friday afternoon, Chris, Erin, Sandor and I headed down to Tahoe for the wedding of our friends Lauren and Zach. As we were getting ready, I told Chris we should have walky-talkies. He looked at me like I was out of my mind (thinking, apparently, that he and I should have them, when I meant, of course, we should have one and Erin and Sandor the other.) Imagine my excitement when Erin handed me a walky-talkie as we were about to leave!


The wedding was right on the lake and so beautiful! Lauren and Zach seem truly happy and we were so glad to be a part of their day. We enjoyed the reception, too, trying out the restaurant's signature Wet Woody and admiring an amazing view of the lake.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brown thumb?

A few weeks ago I was asking my mom about the herbs and things she was growing in her garden, so the next time she came into Reno we went and bought some plants and she re-potted them for me since she had all the stuff at home (Thanks, Mom!). I brought them home on Saturday and I was really excited about my new little garden ... but now I'm afraid I'm already killing them. (I should have remembered the only plants I've ever had are cactus.)


I have basil, thyme, dill, tomato, rosemary and jalapeno plants. The basil wasn't doing so well when I got it as a result of too much water, but I don't know what I've done to the rest ... except maybe not enough sun? It's been pretty cloudy with lots of thunderstorms here the last few days. I moved them from the ground up to the ledge of our balcony for the day yesterday in hopes of getting some extra sunshine - but it didn't peek out from the clouds until late afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow they will get some more rays. In the meantime, this one little tomato is my only glimmer of hope.

Anyone with a greener thumb than I have any suggestions of how to keep them alive?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sadness

Our trip to Quincy last weekend wasn't all fun and games, unfortunately. On Saturday morning as we were getting ready to go out to lunch with my mom and John, my mom called very upset that they'd had to take their dog Kiana to the vet that morning and there was a chance she wouldn't make it through the night.

Chris and I stayed a couple hours, then headed home, not sure what we could do. As we were pulling into Reno, my mom called to let us know Kiana didn't make it. They'd picked her up and planned to bury her on their property.

Kiana, as anyone who knew her knows, was much more than a pet. My mom and stepdad got her in 2001, not knowing then that my stepdad had less than a year to live. Kiana has been a true companion to my mom in the last eight years, seeing her through the hardest time of her life and cheering her up when nothing else could.

Her sickness came on very suddenly and wasn't diagnosed until it was too late. My mom, understandably, is grieving for the loss of her dear friend. And I know for us, it won't be the same when we go to Quincy to not have her there barking when we pull into the driveway and nudging us the whole time we're there to play or pet her.
Here are a couple pictures of Kiana from when her and mom visited me in Monterey in the spring of 2002. She will be missed terribly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's a wrap

You all probably realize by now that I'm quite a dork, so it probably won't surprise you to know that I get SUPER EXCITED over wrapping gifts. I am so not even kidding. When I was in college, I volunteered at an AIDS organization in San Jose one winter and my duties were to man the gift wrapping booth at the mall (all proceeds to the organization, get it?). I thought it was so much fun getting to wrap all these presents and learning about all these gadgets for shredding and curling ribbon. (Imagine how excited I was to discover my mother-in-law has a closet full of gift wrap and tissue paper!) Another time I was at Michelle's while she was wrapping a gift and asked her if I could do it for her. (More like took it away from her. See ... I have a problem.)

Anyway, last year we received one of our wedding gifts in a shoebox, and it was adorable. The bottom of the box was all black, the top wrapped in wrapping paper and decorated with a ribbon and some faux-flowers. It was very pretty and, I thought, a great way to wrap a gift so that the box could be re-used without having to be re-wrapped. Since then, I have re-gifted that box but decided to make my own this weekend for a birthday present I was dropping in the mail. I was pretty excited at the result so I thought I'd share.


First, I took a box and wrapped the lid with some scrapbook paper. I decided it needed a little something else, so I pulled out my basket-o-ribbons, but none seemed quite right. Finally I decided to experiment a little, and cut a circle out of some red scrapbook paper, cutting a scalloped edge with scrapbooking scissors. Then, I cut a strip of some white paper and placed a letter "b" (first initial of the gift recipient) in the middle. Finally, I cut a slit on each side of the circle, and slid the strip of white paper through so the "b" showed in the middle. Then I used double sided tape to wrap the white strip under the lid. I was really happy with the result, especially considering I didn't have to buy anything to make it - I just used stuff I already had laying around.

Instead of the letter strip, you could also embellish a wrapped box lid with buttons or feathers or ribbons or beads and it can be used again and again and again. For another super easy, eco-friendly gift wrap option, check out Savvywrap, a sustainable giftwrap brought to you buy my cousin Mandy in Seattle! Isn't it awesome?
P.S. Happy Birthday Becky!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Poker face

Friday afternoon Chris and I headed to Quincy for an evening with Julia (aka - hostess with the mostess) and Bob and their friend J.P. Julia put some pretty flowers next to the guest bed just for us!
She made a delicious dinner of chicken and pasta and fresh-from-the-oven challah bread. Everything was great!
After dinner, the five of us played some Texas Hold 'Em. Even though I haven't played since Chris' birthday party in Yuma in 2005, I managed to do pretty well, and Bob and I were the last two playing.
Here, Chris is, of course, telling me what I should have done differently ... even though he was already out of the game, and I had won the hand. But are you surprised, really?
Bob won in the end, but we all had a really good time. In the morning, Julia made some yummy French toast with the leftover challah bread (Holla!). Now you might be wondering how all this works into my Lose 10 by 30 plan, and, uh, it doesn't. But the calories don't count when you're out of town, I decided. It was nice to spend some time relaxing and visiting, and looking through all of the fun magazines Julia left for us in the guest room! Hopefully we can host them here in Reno sometime soon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sluggers

The other day, Sandor (who is the coach of our softball team) was saying they needed to bring a camera to one of our games before the season ends next week, and since Chris was furloughed last week, I volunteered him to be team photographer on Thursday. He said, "What does that mean?" And I said, "Uh, take pictures? Duh." So he did. Mostly of me. (Thanks, hon.) He did manage to get a couple of some of my teammates, too, and of course couldn't resist snapping away when Sandor hurt his ankle ... which we later found out was broken. Ouch. But the good news is we won ... 29-10.


Erin at bat

Me at bat

Me on base

Sandor at bat

I run homeSandor doesn't

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lose 10 before 30

The scale was hostile toward me today, so I have a plan: Lose 10 pounds before my 30th birthday. I put this little weekly weigh-in chart in the bathroom - near the scale so I remember to check my progress (and to remind me first thing in the morning every day about my mission, so that I stop making pancakes for breakfast):


I have six weeks. The mission begins tomorrow - tonight I'm making Apple Tart. (What? I already bought all the ingredients yesterday. I cannot let them go to waste!)