Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wild West

Waaay back in June I tagged along on a girls weekend getaway to San Francisco. I joined a group of amazingly fun, dynamic women who my aunt Cathy is very lucky to have in her life.

Cast of Characters:
  • My beloved Mom. That's her with the smirk. After a few glasses of wine my mom ran up a quintessential San Francisco hill (you know, the ones where your calves ache and your thighs burn after a few steps!) back to our hotel at the very tip-top of nob hill, laughing the whole way (one of my favorite sounds). She knows how to have a good time. She also knows where to get really soft towels, even if it means we have to trek 30 minutes by taxi through the chaos of Gay Pride to the most random Restoration Hardware museum store.  Worth it. I loved walking arm and arm with my mom in the city.

  • I met Robin (in the white on the right) for the first time on this trip and she is the "sweet" one of the group. Robin is a breath of fresh air. She has chickens and pretty hair. I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but it did and I am going with it. I like Robin because she reminded me about wine spritzers which am very fond of. 
  • My aunt Cathy, beautiful in blue. She is one of the most loving and gentle people I know. She also has good taste in shoes and led us all to the Ugg store in Union Square where we spent over an hour oohing and ahhing over the softest and most stylish shoes made just for people like me who have bunyon-y, hammer toe-y, wide, aching feet (sexy!). I think we made their sales quota for the day! Cathy knows how to keep us ladies happy - chocolate for everyone!!!!!
  • Dorothy, waving above, aunt Cathy's side-kick and adopted family. I have enjoyed her company in many a big city (NY, Seattle, SF, LA). I love Dorothy. She is truly talented when it comes to making conversation. She can talk to strangers, long-time friends, new friends, kids, old farts, homeless people...she will find something to talk to you about. My topic of choice: celebrity gossip and the latest Bachelor and Bachelorette drama. Or shoes, purses, make-up, travels, Dorothy is a wealth of knowledge and I adore her for that. I also adore her for buying me a glass of wine during intermission at the Once musical while I was waiting for the single teeny tiny bathroom along with a gajillion other people.
  • Lynn Shaw is oh-so-lovely (she is in bright green below).  Lynn is the person who others can count on. She makes really yummy artichokes, has the cutest backyard, and her legs are longer than my entire being. I have spent some time with Lynn on several trips and the best part about traveling with Lynn is she is so easy-going. She will go anywhere, do anything, eat anywhere, without complaint. I also think Lynn is awesome because she watches Bachelor.
  • I have known my aunt Cathy for almost 31 years and I have heard the name "Lynn Dupree" 245,593 times. That's almost 8000 times a year you guys. My aunt must love Lynn Dupree an awful lot! And finally, after 31 years, I have met THE Lynn Dupree!! I met her in April and come June it felt like I truly knew her for years. Lynn is hip. Lynn hears good music and promptly gets up to kind of gal. I am especially thankful for Lynn on this trip because she gave me the key to her room so I could poo in private (I wasn't too keen on the open bathroom concept).

  • Susie is a hoot. She is the person who is ready with a glass of wine when you walk in. Susie makes the most out of each moment. She is boisterous in a cheerful way, and her love of life is contagious. One of my favorite memories growing up was going swimming at Susie's house in Folsom - I will never forget it as the energy there was always so happy. I bet you can tell which one Susie is below.

  • My aunt Lisa and cousin Charisma came into the city for dinner and to see Once. Seeing them is always a treat and this was especially neat to watch a musical together in the city. A unique Mother-Daughter experience. My favorite relationships are those where time or distance doesn't get in the way of really loving each other. We can go many months without seeing Lisa and her family, but when we get together, it's like not a second has gone by. We get right back talking over wine about the latest birthday bash, concert anecdotes, dance recitals, and being together is very, very warm.

Thanks to all of you ladies for including me in such a fun weekend. I love that you all adore my aunt Cathy so much and take care of her :) Looking forward to the next wild weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Once upon a May day

After reading about a half dozen essays about kidnappers, killers, and stalkers, my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Gmahling, finally told me to try something a bit lighter...poetry...

So here it goes...

Once upon a May day
In the town of Arroyo Grande
We passed the time
Digging in the dirt and drinking wine
We raised an artichoke and some berries too
Had a lovely visit with Helya and of course a Moscow Mule
Work was hectic and the heat so intense
But the snap peas popped and pink peonies made me dance
I am stylin' with my anniversary rollerblades
Wish I took them to Lake Havasu on memorial day
Cousin Heather graduated from high school, a wonderful night
Celebrating by the fire with good 'ol grandpa and coors light
In the tiny town of cloudy Carmel
Two little fairies explored and ate well
We loved, laughed, and drove for many miles
It was a great month, but poetry isn't really my style.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Granola of the gods

This is the best granola you will ever eat. Don't bother buying store-bought stuff...just buy some fresh ingredients and give this a try. It's healthy candy. I'm not joking!!!

6 cups whole rolled oats
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice (optional, but I love it)
1 TBSP cardamom (this is very expensive, but totally worth it. I skipped this on the first batch and splurged on the second, and oh boy this spice gives a very nice flavor!)
1 tsp sea salt (I don't like my granola very salty, so just use as much as you'd like. CAUTION: if you are using any salted nuts, cut back on the salt here)
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup chia seed
Mix all together in a big bowl

6 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not Aunt Jemimas!)
1/2 cup raw wild honey (use local to help with your allergies!)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Mix all together in separate bowl then mix in with granola mixture.

If you are using raw nuts, go ahead and mix in with the granola before baking. If you are using pre-roasted nuts, follow directions below. NOTE: I prefer going to the bins at Whole Foods and picking out my own raw nuts rather than buying pre-packaged roasted nuts. 

Spread out on 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes or until deep golden brown
Take out and sprinkle the granola with nuts and dried fruit of your choice and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Take out and let cool. It will be kind of soft and moist while hot, but gets crunchy as it cools. Transfer to a air tight container once cooled.

Goodies I used:
Sunflower Seeds
Slivered almonds
Dried cranberries

I didn't measure out the nuts, but roughly chopped the walnuts, cashews, and pistachios, and left the seeds and pepitas whole. It was about a healthy handful of each. If you want a chunkier granola, go nuts with the nuts, or if you prefer more granola than nuts, just add less nuts. Duh!

This granola is great for snacking on, or adding to yogurt! Enjoy!!!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sunday in the country

Water flowers, prune grapefruit tree, pick oranges and tangerines, pick plums, prune pears, pick lettuce, radishes, carrots, and strawberries, trim back rosemary and salvia, dead head roses, trap gophers, feed succulents, pick weeds in garden, read on the patio, squeeze oranges, freeze plums, make granola, prep lettuce wraps, juice last years frozen apples with spinach and carrots from the garden, turn the music up and eat fresh!!

Love this life!!!!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Missing Backstage Pizza

I love when I re-connect with friends and it's like time hasn't passed at all. That's how it felt when my dorm room neighbor, Alissa, came to SLO for a visit. We met up at Cal Poly and roamed around the campus, WOWed at all of the the latest and greatest and giggled about the things that haven't changed a bit. We started Cal Poly in September of 2001, just days after 9-11. We hauled our giant PC computers and CRT monitors, lugged our 13 inch tube televisions, hung our favorite photographs of prom night and high school boyfriends and embarked on dorm life at Muir Hall. 

For those of you who went on this journey with me over 12 years ago and haven't returned to Cal Poly  lately, you might find interesting some of the things that have changed on campus.

Do you all remember that dank vending machine chamber, The Park? Well, it's now a full on Subway! And Lucy's Two next door, the walk-up juice bar, is now a Subway To-Go window. And forget Julian's - Starbucks has moved in (although, I heard there is still a Julian's in the library). The Lighthouse is now the Metro, and Backstage Pizza (my favorite place to eat on campus!) is now Ciao. And, get this..there is a Yogurt Creations where Poly Escapes used to be. But, don't fear...the Sandwich Factory is still up and running and Chick-fil-A is still making the best waffle fries over at the Avenue. 

We were shocked to see that there were almost three people in every room at Muir Hall. Yes, we snuck into the dorms and took photos in front of our old rooms. We were afraid to knock and find out how they squeezed three humans and all of their things into a 12 foot by 12 foot room. We peeked inside the bathrooms and laughed at how NOTHING has changed. In over ten years, they didn't refresh one thing. The tiles, showers, lockers, sinks, mirrors - all the same grossness that they were back then. Not only are they squeezing more freshmen into dorms, they have expanded their upper class living situation on campus. When we were there, there were only a handful of dorms for upper classmen, with a long waiting list. Alissa and I ventured up to "Poly Canyon" apartment complex, and it's like a whole little city up there! They have their own workout room, restaurants, shops, sitting areas, swimming pool, parking structure. What the heck?! I would have loved to live there. 

Another change is the fact that you can no longer drive through the campus. They have blocked off the route from Grand Avenue down to the Rec Center. Now it is a bike and pedestrian path only. The library parking lot is now a gleaming engineering building. The biggest change for me is the new science building that has replaced half of the "spider building". Those old, dusky, mildewy chemistry labs are now bright and shining with expensive artwork, a life size periodic table shadow box, and state of the art laboratories with smart screens and computer stations. As much as I wish I had access to such cool technology and beautiful study space, I have fond memories of the spider building and it's maze of hallways, musty bathrooms, bumbling fume hoods, dusty old stock room, and of course that time I blew up a lab with my pyrotechnics! We thought it was annoying they had Apple computers in the computer lab, cussing out the spinning pinwheel of death while trying to complete lab reports.

Life in 2001 was so different than it is today. I am not sure texting even existed back then, but if it did, no one I knew ever did it. We preferred to communicate over AIM, leaving snarky and clever away messages for our friends, staying up all night chatting to the cute guy from physics, and checking on our buddy lists in between classes. There was no Facebook or Myspace. Just good old Instant Messenger.

My parents bought me my very first cell phone for high school graduation, so toting around my cute blue Nokia cell phone in college made me feel cool and hip with the times. I had to talk to my parents on the phone - there was no Skype or FaceTime, although we did have horrible quality webcams and could send grainy pictures back and forth on AIM and email. We spent our nights huddled on our tiny dorm beds watching Dawson's Creek - at the time it was actually broadcast, not DVRed or streamed or downloaded. We used this high tech online website called Hot Math to help us solve our calculus problems. And we were simply amazed by this phenom called Napster where we could find almost any song we ever wanted! And we spent so, so SO much time napping - something I am pretty sure still holds true for 18 and 19 year olds today. I really can't believe how much time I wasted napping. 

Strolling down memory lane at Cal Poly brought back a flood of really great memories that I made during my freshman year and beyond. I've lived in San Luis Obispo County for 8 years post graduation, and still, going back to campus is always a treat. Cal Poly is a time capsule that holds 4.5 years of my life in a safe, warm place. 

To the next Muir Hall mate that comes to visit me, let's go sneak into the dorms and see how on earth they fit three beds in those tiny square spaces! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Memory

Richard Wright - July 13, 1941 - March 4, 2014
Richard Wright, of South Lake Tahoe, passed away peacefully at home on March 4, 2014 after a long fought battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma. Richard was born to the late Harry and Leona Wright in San Francisco and was one of five children. He graduated from Lincoln High in San Francisco in 1959. In 1972 he moved to South Lake Tahoe and successfully ran his own plumbing business for 40 years. (All Wright’s Plumbing )
Richard loved old cars, especially his 1969 Volkswagon and the attention he got while driving it around town. He enjoyed going to the movies, traveling with his family and friends and telling his corny jokes.
Richard is survived by his wife Cathy of 33 years and son Michael along with his children from a previous marriage, David, his wife Mary, Kristie, Doug and Brenda. He is also survived by his sisters Marilyn, Judy, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. Richard will be dearly missed by his lifelong friends and family.
No services were held, however, a celebration of Richard’s life may be planned at a later date.
In remembrance of Richard, donations can be made to Barton Hospice or the Cancer League of South Lake Tahoe.
All together for the Bachelorette Finale viewing party with Aunt Cathy, Mom, and Tahoe friends. Certainly a great way to lighten the mood! :)

We will think of Richard every time we use the laser level, use the kitchen faucet that he installed, eat cranberry sauce with Thanksgiving dinner, and use the parking break. Will always remember Richard treating me to to iHOP, chatting about movies and how proud he is of Michael. Thinking back when the answering machine said "All Wright's Plumbing!" and I thought it meant that only guys with the last name Wright could work with my uncle and how hard it must have been to find that many plumbers with the same last name! 

Miss and love you Uncle Richard!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Eyesore no more!!

We hired a construction company to give our driveway a facelift. The poor driveway was pretty much a dirt road with bits of tar holding it together. We also wanted to expand the parking area so that it would be easier to turn around, and able to fit multiple cars without Steve having to pull up on the grass anytime someone was coming over. The team added a really nice concrete pad around the garage for a work space for Steve, and re-designed the rain water drainage area. The project took a four man crew about 5 days to finish. They did a fantastic job, and I couldn't be happier with the results and I never thought I would be so thrilled about spending money on asphalt and concrete! But hey, that's what being a home owner is all about!! 

Now you can all come visit and we can play foursquare! 

Work in Progress:


Finished Product:

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