Friday, May 29, 2009

Weekend Here Yet? No? Really?

I cannot wait for this weekend to finally get here. It is Maker Faire this weekend in San Mateo, and I cannot wait to go. Dan and I have attended this wonderful festival dedicated to the making and crafting of things since we moved to the area two years ago. Many of our friends are not attending citing the sameness of the fair the past two years, but I kind of love some of the familiarity of things. It hearkens back to our trips to state fairs, and how you knew where certain vendors would be each year. I am mostly looking forward to meeting some fellow Etsians in the Bizarre Bazaar. I hope to remember to take some pictures for you all to see next week.

Today is the usual house chores of Friday: laundry, cleaning, straightening, garbage taking out, and perhaps some cookie baking. I also have some gifts for Jozef to make and get ready for his birthday next week. I am taking pictures of this as I am working on the items and will also have those next week for you all to peruse. There is planning to do for our trip down tomorrow, time tables to look up for the train, and tickets to acquire. Lots to do and now I am off to do it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Urban Oasis

With the purchases from different nurseries this weekend, I created a mini urban oasis for us on the balcony. I was mostly concerned with weight, so the only really nice pot I have for all the plants is my old cobalt blue one that traveled all the way here from Illinois. The rest are all plastic pots. I also picked some rather shallow boxes for planting, and while not the best choice for some of the plants, I hope they work out. I know that most of the boxes are over crowded for some of the plants as well, but I am kind of a try it out and see what happens type of gardener. I am also some what concerned about the amount of sunlight that the plants will get, but the original box of herbs looks much better in the less sunny balcony than the full sun window of the last apartment. Well time to end the rambling and roll out the pictures.

We have wanted to have a lemon tree for some time, and now we have the space for one. This is a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree. I am really excited as it already appears to have several lemons started already. There are also a few flowers on it, and I think that is why Dan picked it over others.

We also got me a tomato plant.

This is the one I am most concerned about with the sun issue. Tomatoes need plenty of light to get going, and I hope this one gets enough. I have never heard of this particular variety, jetstar, but we liked the name as well as the description of it being a less acidic kind of tomato. I used rooting hormone in the watering yesterday for the plants, and the tomato seemed to show instantaneous results. It seemed to get taller yesterday by at least an inch and sprouted some roots rather high on the stem. Hopefully this is not a bad thing for this plant.

I still have the second try herb box from the last apartment. It has lasted through several week long absences from me, the main caretaker, and several weeks alone by itself. It always seems to keep on ticking. I did have to replant a new thyme plant, as it was destroyed by what I think are aphids that have recently reared their ugly heads again this week. They also went after the parsley, and after much debate, I got another parsley plant thinking the old one was dead. Much to my surprise, it was doing okay after I cleared all the dead junk out from the three weeks of neglect the window box took. I also am trying out dill again, but I think the box is just too shallow for this usually hard to kill plant. We will see if try number four is successful. I intend on getting a spray bottle to whip up some aphid killing soap spray this afternoon. Scorched Earth policy is back in effect.

This is the biggest experiment box for me. I like to call it the trellis after my somewhat lame attempt at a bamboo trellis appears in this one. (Yes, it needs much twine for it to be finished.... that will happen after the run to Target today.) I accidentally bought too many bean plants, so instead of throwing some out, I planted them all. Strong will survive mentality for me on this one, plus I simply cannot through out those perfectly good plants. We are trying out green lake beans on the one side of this box. I am going to try to get them to climb up the trellis, and then just prune them down if they get bigger than that. I have never grown this type of bean, so I hope it works. On the other side of the box are a zucchini plant and a cucumber plant. I hope to trellis train those as well. This is a total first for me, seeing as Dad and Uncle Glen always got the plants growing, I only weeded and harvested from their gardens.

I have given up on my scrubby basil plants that I stared from seed myself and am going with new seedlings. I hope that I do something better with these. They look much greener than any I have stared on my own. they are also much bushier then the ones I usually start with. I wonder sometimes if I do not pinch them back enough when they are young. I should really read about this seeing as basil is supposed to be an easy plant, and I always kill them.

I ran out of pots for this plant. It is a pepper plant, and I hope to get enough green peppers for a few nights of kabobs and stuffed pepper action over the summer. I also was one pot shy for planting my radish plants. Those I could only find as seed, so hopefully I can get those up and running today after my shopping trip. Perhaps I can find some green onion seeds while I am there too.

This baby just keeps on ticking. If I can keep from flooding it and turning it all brown, I will be in luck.

This is my most favorite add to the balcony right now. I love all the food producing plants much more than flowers usually, but it is nice to have one girly plant out there. I love the smell of jasmine, and I am so happy to have one of my own. I am hoping to train it into some cool shape, but I am not sure what I want to do yet. Maybe a braid or something? Anyway, it is nice to have such a sweet smell right outside the studio window. I can already see myself spending time out there hand sewing things in the afternoon. Ahhhh.... urban oasis. I want to run out there right now, and I think I just may.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


While the trip I had originally planned did not happen this weekend, I had a wonderful time with Dan. We went to the Nine Inch Nails / Jane's Addiction tour on Friday night. It was wonderful to get back to a concert from my high school and college days. The fixed seating at the venue made it so that the concert did not have the total feel of a standard concert of this type, but it was fun none-the-less. The opening act, Street Sweeper Social Club, was also good. It is fun to find a new band through the opening acts of concerts, especially when they are enjoyable acts. This was a much better show than the one I saw on the Fragile tour a few years ago. While there is still little chemistry between the members of Nine Inch Nails, the performance was more tight and the songs sounded better. Jane's Addiction, while not my major draw for the concert, was wonderful. They still have great chemistry and seemed to really enjoy playing even their most well known songs together. Their performance was great and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves. We ended the night in typical concert going fashion by getting food at a Denny's with fellow friends and concert goers. Great conversation what in full supply, and I had a lot of fun with everyone.

Saturday started off late as we got home so late from the concert. We helped a fried get back to the venue to pick up his car from the night before, and also got brunch with him. We went to Ole's Waffle Shop in Alameda. I am not sure why this place gets some not so hot reviews on yelp, but I thought it was great. The waffle with fresh strawberries was awesome. Even the whipped cream was fresh. The coffee was that standard pancake house wonderful stuff that I miss so much from Champaign. After dropping him off at the car, Dan and I preceded to drive around and finally settled on walking around a mall for a while before heading home to veg out.

Sunday was spent as a day bumming around the house. We have not done that in days, and the weather was perfect for this pursuit. The fog rolled in, and we just stayed in our pajamas for a long time watching the Indy 500 and the Blackhawks horrible performance in their playoff game. We finally decided that we needed to get something accomplished, so we went grocery shopping and hung some pictures up around the house.

Monday was a great day for me. We went out to do "Amy things" as Dan deems them. He took me out to gather supplies for the container garden I would like to start. We got several plants in this first round. I am slightly nervous about the amount of light we get and whether it will be enough. Hopefully it will seeing as the herb box has done so much better since the move to the new apartment. I will have pictures and more news on the container garden tomorrow once it is all planted. Well there is a garden to plant and gifts for an upcoming birthday of one of the nephews to work on today. Pictures of those gifts to follow as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cleaning, Catching Up, and Concert

Yesterday was a great day. Lunch was wonderful, and tutoring was the usual fun that it always is. At the end of the tutoring session, 826 put on 5 minute readings at a local bar. It was fun getting to hear all the creative writing of the people that I tutor and volunteer with over at 826. I was not intending on attending but was glad that I had once it was all said and done. It made me wonder if I should get back to writing like I used to in high school and during college when I had a little time. Now, I think there is time, but I am not sure if I have my "writing muscles" still. It is a skill that needs to be practiced everyday for good results, and while some would say that this blog is a good writing practice, I would have to beg to differ. I guess I just think that writing on the level of reading on stage requires more revision than I do here. Who knows who is right, but I am already being asked to read at the next one. That will have to sit on the back burner for now seeing as I am not quite so confident in my creative writing as something for others to see right now.

Today is filled with getting the house back in the humming order that it used to be over at the other apartment. Laundry is whirling around the machines, and the dishwasher is quietly and virtually silently swishing away. There is straightening to do and pictures I keep meaning to hang are sitting on the ground. I still have a mountain of e-mails to read through from the San Francisco Bay Street Team on Etsy. I also have yet to introduce myself to all those fine folks. Hopefully next week I will have myself all caught up on their thoughts and be able to chip in my own. Tonight is the Nine Inch Nails concert, and I am looking forward to it more than I thought I would. It has been ages since I went to a good old industrial style concert, and while not totally fitting the bill, this is a good replacement.

I hope to have some more exciting things to tell you about next week. Hopefully Dan and I get out this weekend to my little get away spot that I am looking into, if that happens, I will bring back pictures. Till then, good weekends to all and more to come on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hitting the Reboot Button - The Comforts of a New Home

I have been out of communication for quite a few weeks now as my life turned into a tornado of activity. First I was busy trying to get a new quilt done for my mother. She wanted one of my play quilts for a friend's new granddaughter. I was more than happy to turn another one of those out. They are fun to do, and of course due to all the craziness of packing, I forgot to take pictures of this one. It turned out similar to all the others, and I ended up liking the replacement fabrics I substituted in since some of the others I used in the first two were no longer available. Next I had to pack up all of our stuff at the old apartment and begin the task of moving us two blocks down. It does not sound like much, but I think this was more difficult than doing the cross country move. Since we were going such a short distance, Dan and I decided to use our car to ferry different loads of boxes back and forth. I would load up boxes during the day and pack the car, then at night, we would bring them up and unload them. I would repeat this process for several days. Finally the movers came on my birthday, April 29th, to get the furniture and heavy book boxes moved into the new place for us. I spent all of the next day cleaning the apartment top to bottom. It was a full day of trying to get train diesel particulate out of carpet and windowsills. It made me happy to realize that I would no longer be battling that fight against grime any longer.

The next day we were off early to get on a plane and head back to Illinois for a friend's wedding and family visits. We went down to Champaign to see how things have changed on the campus and also to just see the countryside. I forgot how much I could miss flat land until that trip. It was good to get back to the water and hills though. I guess my patience for flat is less than it used to be. While in Champaign, I got to see a great friend and hang out before she makes her trek out to the left coast for her own personal reboot.

I also got some inspiration and creative recharging when we went home. We went to go see the Mies van der Rohe creation known as the Farnsworth House. It was great to see it in person rather than just in pictures. I always love his style of architecture, and I suppose that is what I also enjoy about our new building. It really seems to me to be a take on the steel and glass structures that he created.

After the Illinois trip, I had a few days to unpack and make the apartment as livable as possible before my parents arrived to visit here in California. I mostly succeeded. All was done but putting up the mirrors and a few of our pictures that I am just not sure where to place yet. While they were here we went to the Marin headlands, Golden Gate Park, and San Juan Bautista. We also did the 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach. All things were really fun, but I think the Marin headlands drive that we did was my favorite.

Now I am settling into the new office and sewing studio that I have here in the new place, and the apartment seems extra quiet. While I love everything here, it seems almost too quiet. With all the windows closed, I cannot really hear the trains or any outside noise, which is good. It just seems extra quiet after having a couple of weeks with people around to talk to and now going to just me again. I guess we will have to get a pet or something.

Today is filled with looking through back e-mail and working on getting the last address changes done. I also have a lunch meeting and tutoring at 826. I guess I should go and get that crock pot loaded up and get some other things done before lunch.