Monday, January 17, 2011

The Slow Burn of January

I keep saving this list as a "draft" thinking I'll expand on it to make it a nice narrative, but let's face it, school starts this week so it's now or never.  If I want this blog to stay alive in some form, I'll just have to do it, even if it's not exactly how I want it to be. With that said, here's some stuff I've been up to lately. It's a good time.

- Dynamic Stick Yoga: "Dynamic Stick Yoga employs sticks (usually bamboo) of varying lengths to propel you into greater expansion and deepen your yoga practice. Dynamic Stick allows the yogi to hold poses for a longer duration, creating beneficial muscle memory and providing space to deepen the posture." Thanks website. Basically, it's a fun new way to do the same old poses we're used to doing, but with some help! Devin and I have really liked it and it's kicked our butts.

- Book Club: Something I've been participating in with a small group of friends for over two years now! (See previous post) Last week we had some tasty desserts!

- Bean and Leek Cassoulet: Thanks to Wes and Katelyn for inviting us over Saturday night for a tasty vegan dinner! They made us this fantastic dish, which I'd like to make in the near future. The link above takes you to the blog of someone I don't know (Thanks stranger!), but it has pictures and the recipe of what Wes and Katelyn made. The recipe can be found in a cookbook I'd like to get as well, Veganomicon!

- "Almost A Powerbar, Cookies": Made one of my favorite cookies to share with Wes and Katelyn from the cookbook The Garden of Vegan. In the book they're called Rachel's Louisville Cookies or something, but I've taken the liberty of renaming them. They are so dang good, and minus the wee bit of butter and brown sugar, good for you!

-Individual ATx: That's code for Individual Art Therapy! Last week I had my first two individual sessions with two students at my practicum site. Both sessions went really well and I'm excited to finally have individual sessions underway! I also had a few really interesting sessions at the hospital with some new oncology patients. Yea for Art Therapy!

- 9.35 mile hike through Tilden & Wildcat Canyon: On Sunday Devin and I decided to take advantage of the weather (65 and Sunny!) and take a long hike through these two parks. We took our time and had a little picnic about halfway through, the whole trek taking abut 4 hours. Photos below for your viewing pleasure.

- Gardening: Finally got back out into our wee little yard and did some gardening, or rather weeding and cleaning. Got our little burm all spruced up, even though soon it'll be covered in fallen leaves and more clover. It was great to get my hands back in the dirt!

- Cabinet iPhone: While I worked on projects, Devin had a project of his own. Devo has turned his first iPhone into a remote/recipe holder/volume control/stereo which we can access right next to our stove. With a few swipes and taps we have recipes at our fingertips and tunes blasting through our abode! (Insert grunting man noise here)
- Farmers Market: On Saturday we took a walk uptown to Berkeley (about a 4 block walk from our house) and wandered through the market. We didn't need anything but were on a hunt for cookies and so we walked out of there with a bag of Kettle Corn, fresh Meyer Lemon Pasta, and the sought after Pecan Praline Cookies.

- Tempeh and Mushroom Stroganoff: I made this tonight after drooling over it since finding it on the free Whole Foods Recipe app on my phone. I made the veggie gravy and veggie Worcestershire sauce from scratch (patting self on back), and the whole thing came out super tasty. Devin and I just laid on the couch burping after noming two servings down, apiece. Urp.

Phew! Looking back on this week I'm impressing even myself with all that I cram into 7 days! And I'm getting this post up just in time to start another week. Hope the few of you who read this thingy are having a lovely day. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Club Archive

This one is for my Book Club Ladies. I've attempted re-create our last two years, but fear there may be some holes or misalignment. Regardless . . . it's more than we've had written down before! With any luck I can start to archive what we have for each dinner from here on out. We'll see . . . What a wonderful two years it's been! Great idea Anna!!
Love you Ladies.

- December/January: At Home: Bill Bryson (Jessie: Spices/Foods from book)
- February: On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet: By Jamie Ford (Hayley)
Mar - Anna
April - Tree
May - Sarah
June - Kim
July - Jessie
Aug - Tree
Sept - Sarah
Oct - Hayley
Nov - Kim
Dec - Anna

- December/January: At Home: Bill Bryson (Jessie: Spices/Foods from book)
- November: The Help: By Kathryn Stockett (Kim: Southern Food)
- October: Operating Instructions: By Anne Lamott (Teresa: Chinese Take Out)
- September: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: Roda Janzen (Sarah: Shame Based Food)
- August: One Day: By David Nicholls (Kim: Picnic Theme)
- July: The Young Romantics: By Daisy Hay (Jessie: English Food)
- June: The Big Machine: By Victor LaValle (Hayley: "Local" Food)
- May: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Kim: Swedish Food)
- April: ?
- March: Olive Kitterage: By Elizabeth Strout (Teresa: Comfort Food)
- February: Son of the Circus: By John Irving (Kinetic Arts Center Outing)
- December/January: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Jane Austin & Seth Graham Smith (Jessie: Zombie Food, Duh.) 

- December: Pride & Predjudice & Zombies: Jane Austin & Seth Graham Smith (Jessie: Zombie Food, Duh.) 
- November: The Book Thief: By Markus Zusak (Hayley: German Food)
- October: The Big Necessity: By Rose George (Jessie: Monteros Mexican Food & Club Mallard)
- September: The Magicians: Lev Grossman (Anna: Magical Boarding School Food)
- August: The Color of Water: (Kim: Jewish and Southern Soul Food)
- July: No Book Club?
- June: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Junot Diaz (Jessie: Dominican Food)
- May: Lush Life: By Richard Price (Suzanne: Favorite Bar Food)
- April: A Post Birthday World: By Lionel Shriver (Teresa: Partner Themed Food)
- March: Blink: By Malcom Gladwell (Sarah)
- February: The Flying Troutmans: By Miram Toews (Hayley)
- January: The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (Anna Cooked Everything!)

Sunday, Monday: Photo Essay

Devin Watches Football . . .(?!)

Alton Brown's Coleslaw, Mac N' Cheese, Vegan Sausage

Science Lab at Home

Black Bean Burgers on Sourdough

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One Week Down, 51 More To Go

Phew. That was only one week? Goodness me. Felt more like two, or three. Bouncing between 6th and 7th graders at a middle school to then gathering a group of 2-24-year-olds at the hospital split me right in half, in mind and and body. After being away from these two jobs for a period of time, I return to them with a fresh perspective, as if seeing what I'm doing for the first time . . . and suddenly I realize, no wonder I feel CRAZY sometimes! These populations are really hard to work with! 
Luckily, amidst all of the renewed chaos there was much tasty food, successful contour drawing lessons, a rock band in the living room, and many birthdays to celebrate! 

Best Dinner of the Week
Early in the week we fried up some tofu, sprinkled it with nutritional yeast, wok-ified some collard greens with sesame oil and lemon, and mashed potatoes with real sour cream and green onions. All of that topped off with glass of "Beaker Squeak", a blend we made at this fun little winery in Sonoma over Thanksgiving, this meal won the contest for my favorite meal of the week. 


 Throughout the week the junior high students continued to practice contour drawings. Many students became wildly successful with this technique, while others just couldn't make the connection between what their eye was seeing and what their hand was doing on the paper.  It was interesting to see how easy it was for some and how nearly impossible it was for others. With some students the eye/hand disconnect was almost tangible, feeling similar to when like poles of magnets repel from one another. 
It really makes me want to read about drawing, neuroscience, and what is happening in the brain as you try to draw from life, as opposed to drawing from the mind. Here are a couple of books I want to explore in relation to this: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards and Art Therapy and Clinical Neuroscience, by Hass-Cohen, Carr and Kaplan. I'm struck by how much I still don't know about this field, and excited to continue to learn about it all . . .

In other news, my dear father and brother both celebrated their birthday's this Friday, January 7th! Happy Birthday to both of you again! I feel so blessed to have you in my life. If we lived closer to one another I would have made you the same thing I made my friend Elaine (who is celebrating her birthday TODAY!): Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel! But alas, since you guys weren't here, we had to eat the whole thing ourselves last night. 

Today brings the weekend to a close, so we started the day off with the Sunday ritual of coffee, tea, and banana pecan pancakes. Later there will be the usual grocery store run, putting the order together for the CSA box, list making, lesson planning and hopefully some form of exercise before the day runs out. Devin spoke of making pizza dough, I want to clip some images from magazines to add to my "collage starter" box for the ankle-biters at the hospital. Tonight we'll likely watch the rest of The Lord of The Rings movie that we started on Friday night. It is, afterall, winter so one is required to bundle up on the couch with a cup of tea and watch epic trilogies, right? Right.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Contour Drawings & Chickpea Fun

The new year is off to . . . well, a low energy, not-so-enthusiastic start, to put it benignly. Since returning from Mexico I feel like I'm preparing for a storm. Chore after chore seem to line up one behind the other. 

Start the laundry, plan meals, go to the grocery store, winterize the house, clean the mold from canvases, create lesson plans for internship, consider taking more classes, chart on patients at the hospital, seal the canvases, put the laundry away, schedule an oil change, schedule supervision, schedule the fun bits on evenings and weekends . . . Chores line up, and in-between them a sprinkling of visits with friends, laughter and general getting through. 

"Winterized Window"
 Parallel to this storm preparation, and despite our mutual case of the Sunday night blues, Devo and I make one another laugh while folding laundry and matching socks. Making up songs as we watch replays of tri-athletes succeed and fail, makes what I face on Monday morning (teaching contour drawing to rooms full of adolescents with Autism),  seem easy, possible, and full of promise.

Tasty Chickpea Goodness
And now, with Monday behind us we plug along toward Tuesday. It's warmer in our house tonight, the laundry is put away, the canvases sit drying on the porch, and my belly is full of yummy curried chickpeas with onions. Oh, and there are still cookies left, so I guess it's all just fine.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Brunch, Failed Weather-proofing & Cookies

New Years Day

A light drizzle of rain and opaque overcast skies.  Coffee. Cleaning mold and mildew from our window frames in preparation for an afternoon weather-proofing session. Brunch at Saturn Cafe in Berkeley with good friends, their parents, and everyone's favorite 3 month old baby, Zacky.

A wild goose chase through hardware and home-improvement stores, looking for plastic window insulation and dehumidifiers. Return home, defeated. Mission: Failed
Early Evening
Laundry. Cleaning mold off canvases from previous master's final show. Burritos. Home-brew, the infamous "Ceiling Scraper Ale". And Tron, the original.

After 8:00
On a dessert mission, downloaded multiple free recipe apps to phone. Decided on "Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies". They may not be "outrageous", but they're doing the job.

And now we sit across the kitchen table from one another, computing the internets and browsing the surf. All the while listening to Andrew Bird, Useless Creatures

Current Cookie Count:
Devin: 2
Hayley: 1

Tomorrow is Sunday, the day before I go back to all the things I must go back to. I must find the little flags that mark the way to June, to finishing my internship, to finishing this degree, to longer sun-shinier days that promise weekends of camping and long sun-shiny hikes. Tonight, on the first night of 2011 my wish for friends and family, near and far is this: May you have a hopeful start to the new year, hug the ones you love, listen to to good music, experience deep belly laughter often, and may you have many, many freshly-baked cookies.