Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lauryn's new art project

One of the things I do really like about this city are the street stencils. Everywhere you go here and there are little spray-painted, tags on the sidewalks. I guess I like to look down when I walk. Anyway, I've decided to take Martin's camera with me on walks in order take a picture of every single stencil that I see. I think we're then going to plot them on an interactive map online or something. I did one walk a few weeks ago as a test. Here are some of my favorites (I took over 50 pictures!).

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Yum! This was the only shot of the amazing meal that we cooked up for T-day. Between the three of us (me Martin, and his sister Sara), we made enough food to feed 2 or 3 times as many people. It was fun though, and I'm proud to say that everything was veggie friendly. We all had Tofurkey for the first time and it was remarkably good (and saved us from having to make stuffing). I made my green bean casserole with all of my dad's special tricks to make it better. Here's the recipe ...

T Menard's Extra Special GB Casserole
  • french fried onions - French's is a great stand by and has the basic recipe on the package
  • cream of mushroom soup - 1 can
  • milk - 3/4 a cup (and real milk works better than soy)
  • fresh green beans - as much as you like, but pre-cook them a bit if you don't like crunchy beans
  • fresh mushrooms - as much as you like, but try to get small ones
  • fresh garlic - one large clove or two smaller ones, minced
Wash fresh ingredients. Break longer beans into easier to eat pieces. Keep mushrooms whole. Combine all ingredients (except for 1/4 the can of french fried onions) in a casserole dish and mix well (you want the garlic spread out). Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with extra onions and bake for 5 more minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool for a 5-10 minutes before eating so that everything sets.

I know it's exactly the recipe on the box, but the addition of fresh beans, mushrooms and garlic make a huge difference. The mushrooms get all juicy and wonderful - like stuffed mushrooms without the stuffing. And if you like crunchy green beans like me, then using fresh ones is perfect.

It was so nice to talk to everyone in Mississippi and sounds like you all had a great time there. We missed you all a bunch! I hope that everyone I didn't talk to in Atlanta and elsewhere had a lovely day. I am thankful for all of you and that you're here reading about our expereinces out here in SF.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

As promised

Here are some pictures of our place in the Lower Haight. We're still in the process of decorating. Currently, we're trying to figure out how to hang our paper lamps without attaching them to the walls or ceilings. I think we have it figured out and it should be a fun project that I'll be sure to share later. Until then, enjoy these meager offerings...

Our house number lit up at night.

The view of the fire escape out the right side of our bay window.
The view out the left side of our bay window.

Our photos from the Musee Mechanique on the fridge.

The kitchen, which now has a microwave as well.
The top of our dresser.

Our bathroom window and toiletries.

Me, taking a picture of me, in the bathroom mirror.
The birds Tanya got for me in India that are hanging by the closet.

Our enormous light fixture.

The light fixture in context of our bed and desk.

Our fridge and dining area.

Detail of what's kept on the island/table/counter area.

It's small, but it's home. I'll try to have Martin take some better pictures at some point.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friendly faces cont.

The weened after Krista's visit, we packed our backpacks and hopped on a plane to Seattle. We went to see Erin (Martin's sister), Jacob (Maritn's brother-in-law), Avah (Martin's niece) and Cole (Martin's nephew), who were in town for a conference.
We got in on Saturday around noon and took the bus from the airport to downtown Seattle. After grabbing some Thai food for lunch, we walked down to the Olympic Sculpture Garden. My favorites were a piece by Richard Serra entitled Wake and a piece by Roy McMakin entitled Love and Loss.
We headed back into town to check into our hostel - the Green Tortoise. When we got there, a street swing band and dancers were performing right outside. The hostel was right outside of the Pike Place Market, which was a neat place to wander in and through. We saw Erin, Jacob and the kids that night, but they were in a totally different time zone having flown in from Ohio that afternoon, so we let them get some sleep.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hostel. We got to meet a lot of people from all over the country and world - DC, Portland, China, New Zealand. It definitely was a much more friendly and open breakfast than those I have experienced at hotels.

That day, Martin and I walked to Lake Union and then to the touristy area - you know the place with the Space Needle (no, we didn't pay to go up). We found some good coffee (I know, hard to do in Seattle) while we waited for Cole and Avah to have a nap at the hotel. We met up with everyone at the Children's Museum where Avah and Cole had fun running, crawling, jumping, painting, etc.

We took the monorail back into the downtown area and put Cole to bed. Avah got to go with the adults to dinner. She and I had some fun trading incomplete, but hilarious knock knock jokes. I had a lot of fun playing with her and realized a little bit how much I really do miss teaching creative movement.

Martin and I caught a late showing of Burn After Reading once dinner was over. Those Cohen Brothers really are darker than I expect them to be. Amusingly, at a few points in the movie, they poke fun at Seattle.

The next morning, Martin and I took the kids for a walk with their grandparents (Jacob's parents) while Erin attended Jcaob's award ceremony.

That afternoon, Martin and I wandered over to Seattle's Chinatown. On the way, we stopped at the public library. And by the way, Seattle has the most kick ass library ever. I would love to go there to study, read, journal, sit and stare. It's really fun to wander around.
In Chinatown, we stumbled upon a community garden built into a hillside. It was nice to sit down outside and just chill. The weather in Seattle was really nice. I think it was because I went to the trouble of bringing an umbrella. Overall, I think both Martin and I fell a little bit in love with the city and hope to be able to head back there in the future. But we won't be losing any sleep over it.

PS - So, we flew Virgin Airways and apparently before each flight they have some sort of game to give away stuff (head phones, a free drink ticket, etc.). Before the flight home, the crew was playing music and having people come up if they knew the title and artist. Half way through they said anyone who also sang along with the song got an extra prize. Everyone who knows me knows where this is going. The next song they played was this one and I'm proud to say that I knew the title, artist, and sang my heart out so that my sweetie and I could have a free drinks on the way home. I love random karoke.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friendly faces

November has turned out to be the month for friends and family.
A few weekends ago, Martin's friend Krista came up from Goleta, CA. We had a great time while she was here. She got in on Saturday evening. We treated ourselves to dinner at the Indian Oven. And then, we went to get tea from Samovar Tea Lounge, which I really enjoyed. I think Martin thought it was a little bourgeois for his tastes. I only wish they were closer and, as usual, a little cheaper. I'd be there with a book or journal everyday.The next morning, we headed out for some soul food and then to see those mythical beasts of the SF Bay, the sea lions of Pier 39. After that, we walked down to the Musee Mechanique. I had a roll of quarters at the ready and we walked around exploring the machines. Martin had fun in the vibrating chair, as you can see below. We all had fun in the photobooth, though we had trouble fitting everyone into the frame.
We headed through Chinatown for some bubble tea. We jumped on BART to head to the mission for some graffitti and pirate action. I'm thinking of getting all my friends pirate paraphanaila for birthdays this year. I mean doesn't everyone need a moustache comb and peg oil?
After such a long, walking filled day, we headed home to crash and watch a movie. All in all, it was a great visit and we can't wait for Krista to come back, though I'm thinking it might be nice to visit her next since she's in the warm, sunny part of California.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ooops, it's been a while

We've been in our new place for 42 days. Here's a map of our neighborhood, the Lower Haight. I like the area.

There are lots of restaurants and markets near by. So far our favorites are the Little Chihuahua, which is a Mexican food place that uses local foods, and Love'n Haight, which is a sandwich place with tons of veggie options. There's also a total hole in the wall place, Cu Co's Restaurant, that has amazing plantain burittos.

We've found a fun co-op bulk foods store called Rainbow Grocery. It's not really close, but has some good deals. We've been getting some great granola from there. And Martin has been getting lots of flour for his bread making efforts.

Martin also got a new phone. He's been taking lots of pictures on it and uploading them directly from the phone to his Flickr account. Here's a link to the photos - You'll see some shots from our walk to Japantown, Martin's bread, and that famous SF fog.

I'm still on the job hunt. I had three interviews last week and one next week. I'm getting really good at the "getting an interview" part. It's the "getting the job offer" part that I'm currently struggling with. Martin's been commuting with a co-worker who has a car so he hasn't been taking the train lately.

That's all for now. I'll try to get some pictures of our apartment posted soon!