I spend so much of my day thinking about food, it's just about embarrassing. En route to work, "What will I have for breakfast?" and that's assuming I haven't already planned my lunch before leaving the house (sometimes even the night before). Is it wrong to consider the details of a "regular" meal 17 hours before you're going to eat it?
Oh, and don't get me started on dinner. I'm thinking about dinner basically as soon as I'm awake. As the main grocery shopper in my house, I think it's not so unreasonable, since I need to plan my farmer's market trips based on the day of the week and the direction from which I'll be coming (or going).
Snacks... I spend a lot of emotional energy on snacks. To eat, or not to eat? A granola bar is no crime, but what about when I eat 3 of them in a row? A piece of fruit is guilt-free anytime, but when I follow it up with a chocolate bar? (And then a bowl of ice cream?) I know, I shouldn't feel food guilt. I should experience food exuberance! At the Heart of the City Farmer's Market on Sunday, I went with my $20 and came out with more than I could carry. Literally, I couldn't balance my bike for all of the groceries weighing down my panniers. (Did I mention that I got change from that $20? Amazing!) And the bounty fresh herbs, peaches, bell peppers, red onions, potatoes, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, more tomatoes! The colors are bursting! Eggplant! Figs! Melons! Tomatoes! Cherries! Lemongrass! I am so fortunate not just to live in a country where there is plentiful food, but to live in the Bay Area, where summer brings some of the most beautiful, freshest, juiciest fruits and veggies one can get. Yes, this is a sales pitch for all of my friends to move to the Bay. You know I'm talking to you. (We've got avocado, too.)
It's been a long time since the last update (isn't that always the way?), but since then, the new Family House site launched on July 8th, and it's been pretty successful. I'm working with the team on bringing the Donations page into the same template as the rest of the site, as well as a Spanish version of the site, and a mobile site. It's amazing how much work is yet to be done aside from regular news maintenance. Fortunately, the Family House team really are just the sweetest people to work with. If only all freelance gigs went so smoothly!
In other news, I was finally able to take NERT training with the San Francisco Fire Department, and feel all the more prepared for the next Great Quake. In case you don't know, it's a free program sponsored by the SFFD - they train you up on what to do in case of fire, earthquake, tsunami, etc. If we can get more people prepared, the city will be in much better shape when the next disaster strikes. (As I watch my neighbors pack for Burning Man, I think, "If their emergency kits were as well-stocked as their Playa kits, we'd be golden.") I'm helping my company get set up with their emergency response planning, too.
I've got 4 template ideas for the new Family House website fleshed out, and I look forward to presenting those ideas within the week! I'm excited to see what the team will think - hopefully they will be pleased with the results and I'll be able to jump into the content and coding for real.
Had a wonderful art-filled weekend! Friday night, went to the Galiara gallery on Mission Street to check out art by Ann Ladd (my aunt!) and others. Some really inspiring stuff, including a handful of paintings by an artist (Robert T. Schimke) who is paralyzed from the shoulders down. I love that it's the art that caught my attention, not his handicap.
Filled Saturday with lots of fun visits with friends and delicious food and wine, then spent Sunday with some other friends taking artistic nudes to be displayed in their living room. It's been a long time since I've worked with a model in that way, and it was a fun experience for the lot of us. A classic pose, or a sexy zombie pose? Tough call.
PS ’Äì the sweet potato falafel were fantastic!
More food experiments happening! Made a beef stew on Friday with mixed results... the meat was very tender, but the sauce had a strong tang that makes me think some of the beer I used for braising might have gone off. Does beer go bad? I know it "skunks" (though I read an article recently that debunks that idea), but would think it would still be OK for cooking. Apparently not. Next time - taste the beer before dumping it into the dinner. That's probably a good rule of thumb for any braising liquid, I suppose.
Tomorrow night will be doing a complete 180 - we're having vegans for dinner (nom nom nom)! Found a fantastic website that had me literally drooling over recipes (http://punchfork.com/search/vegan/vegan). Tomorrow night's menu will include butternut squash soup (a good standby recipe), plus sweet potato "falafel," hummus, vegan banana-peanut butter ice cream, and probably chocolate cupcakes. It's going to be a feast, and I love that i've got 2 desserts planned to go with 3 dinner items. That's a good ratio, though maybe not so much for my healthy eating kick. I am proud to say that I'm still sticking to it, 3 weeks later! I've definitely slipped up a few times, but since i've gotten this far, I'd like to try to make it until the end of February. And the best part is that I'm really feeling the results - feeling noticeably better than I was in the beginning of January. Tangible rewards are truly the best motivation....
I'm so excited to learn that there is nutritional value in celery! For standardized Daily Values, it has 10% of your vitamin A, 6% of your vitamin C, 4% of your Calcium, and 1% of your daily iron! Who knew?! I always thought it was just a crunchy, but otherwise a "throwaway" veg, in terms of healthfulness. What a pleasant surprise.
Speaking of surprises, I was inspired by the Test Kitchen at work to try something new: a brie and pear tart. Since I didn't have a recipe, I sort of just threw some ingredients together: some pears with a touch of brown sugar, a wheel of brie (sliced in thirds to it was thin slices), pre-packaged puff pastry, and dried cranberries reconstituted in my favorite tea (Mariage Freres' Marco Polo). The result was very good, but far too rich for my taste. The brie plus the puff pastry was a bit of an overload. The next time I try it, I'll go with regular pie crust, or a less-rich cheese (or even just far, far less of it.)
Please forgive the crap cameraphone pix... when you're up to your elbows in brown sugar and cheese, sometimes it's hard to stop to grab the big guns!
Had a great meeting with the staff at Family House today about re-designing their website. I'm very excited to work with such a great organization, dedicated to helping families in need. The staff there is so warm and welcoming - I can tell this is going to be a great partnership!
A whole week without cheating on my healthy eating! I feel like a rockstar! Dinner out at Gecko Gecko in Berkeley doesn't count, since it was with family, before an amazing show at Berkeley Rep. The Wild Bride - just really fantastic! The acting and musicianship was better than the last show we saw on Broadway. And who doesn't like a play about the Devil's work? With interpretive dance that was actually understandable? And the baby was made of arugula! You should go see it, if it's not too late.
As for today, I definitely took a turn from the healthy eating, but it was for little Gus' first birthday party! Beatiful cupcakes and a build-a-bear cake made by mommy Alex, with a few teddy grahms to snack on. Considering the temptation (soda! beer! chips!), I think a little slide for a good cause was A-OK. But it's back on track as of this evening... what to do with the bag of barley I bought? Let the experiment begin!
My etsy shop is getting a little dusty.
The craziness of the holidays with visits and food and travelling and a cold and getting rid of the crispy-dry Christmas tree in January hasn't left much time for printmaking. But! I do have a few ideas in the back of my mind for some fun springtime cards. Hope to have designs sketched out, and the lincocut ready to go in a few weeks.
On a related note, I have an idea for a logo! For years and years, I've considered lots of different ideas, and none have felt quite right. I've got a "potter's mark" that I've been carving onto thrown and hand-carved ceramic pieces since high school, but it doesn't seem appropriate for graphic design. So, stay tuned for that, and I hope to unveil it when I consider this round of my web portfolio "finished."
December was fantastic! The rain has been holding, and I was able to bike to work every day of the week. There was an abundance of delicious chocolates, cookies, and cakes, and the holidays were sweet, too. Our east coast New Year's trip brought us a pair of days with near-arctic temps, which pleasantly reminded us of how lucky we are to be in San Francisco, where the thermometer rarely dips below 40.
The downside of the deliciousness, of course, is my reluctance to step on a scale now that we've hit January. I abhor the word diet, and am instead opting for healthy eating + exercise. This means lots of veggies, salads, yogurt, and cooking at home, and none of the artisanal chocolates that I've asked my sweetie to hide from me (because if I see them, I will eat them, for sure). Biking to work is fun, and easy while the rain holds off, but I'm pledging to ensure I get exercise on non-work-days, too. I'm on day 4 of healthy eating, and am feeling so proud to have made it this far without cheating! Hoping to make it until Gus' first birthday party on Sunday, at which time, we will all eat cake and celebrate.