Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peachy craving

Jamie's famous 'Christmas' salad.  Strangely not on his website so far as I can see, but recipe here.
I get out-of-control cravings for two things: cheeseburgers, and peaches.

The cheeseburgers, I realised, are because I rarely eat red meat in any other form outside of cheeseburgers.  My cravings are really for red meat... smothered with cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

The peach cravings began in Year Two, when we were reading through James and the Giant Peach.  I remember sitting cross-legged on the classroom floor, Mrs Frawley was reading through the part where James and the insects are *starving*, having been floating around on the peach for so long, when they suddenly realise they are sitting on a fruity goldmine and they start ravenously tucking into its juicy flesh.  The description was so deliciously vivid I actually asked mama if we could go to the supermarket on the way home that day, and remember surreptitiously throwing some peaches in the trolley.  When I got home I cut it open myself and did that thing where you slice it all the way through and then twist it so the top half pops off - do you know what I mean?  It was such an awesome feeling, and with that peaches forever cemented a place in my heart.  Even if only in candy form.  I guess this also means that Roald Dahl gave me a love of reading, and fruit.

Anyway, I had a similar craving today but quickly put it out of my mind (it is the middle of winter here, after all).  You should have seen the excitement on my face when I saw a small pile of them at Whole Foods today - oh how I love that store!  As if my mind had been preparing for this moment, I instinctively grabbed the ripest one, some buffalo mozzarella, a few leaves and power walked home as fast as my TOMS would take me.  I did a lot this weekend, but this salad is the crowning highlight for me.  Not sure what that says about my priorities, but there you go.

Probably the most expensive peach I've ever had, but I would spend that $1.69 all over again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On running (and the Christmas tree graveyard)

I've been trying to get back into running, what with this first 2013 goal on my mind, and feel so lucky that I seem to have landed myself in the perfect neighborhood for it; safe at any time of morning or night, a built in thigh-master workout with the intense amount of hills everywhere and not too far from some great views of the bridge, as I discovered on the weekend.

For anyone also trying to kickstart the year by getting into running, I thoroughly recommend this article.  I actually use #10 'It's ok to trick yourself' all the time: I tell myself I'm only getting up early so I can put on my gym gear and walk around downstairs (what? yeah my brain is easily fooled), or that I'll just run to the corner and back - and then of course I just end up running the course I really had in mind.

Anyway, in the quiet of the morning as I'd just tricked myself out of bed, I got thinking about motivation and the whole host of bizarre thoughts I throw at myself to get motivated.  Here is a sampling:

  • Some friends have babies, Lorna - get up voluntarily at 5am while you can.  You're being a wuss.
  • You love skinny jeans!  Also, you own too many of them and it would be too hard and too expensive if you suddenly couldn't fit into them.
  • Remember how Miranda Kerr looked in that selfie she took on Instagram the other day?  Yeah.
  • Consistency is greater than moments of greatness, just keep this going.
  • You used to do this four times a week.  Also, you're training for a marathon!
  • If you run now I'll let you eat anything you want for breakfast.  Except the bacon.
Ok enough about my love hate relationship with running, the other thing you should know is that on my runs I've discovered it's a Christmas tree graveyard out there.  Oh, how the smell of dried pine fills the air.  So sad.

Can we please talk about what's going on here?  I mean, they're just left there to die!  Poor tree.
These two were just strewn on top of each other without any dignity - they're even been thrown into the headlights, exposed!  So many pine needles, so little time. 
And this tiny guy is just a baby!  Look at him!  So cold and lonely on the corner.  I would be lying if I said I hadn't considered taking him home and giving him a second chance at life.
I don't really know what's going on with this post - I wanted to write about two things (running and the Christmas tree graveyard) and then sort of just smushed them together.  Oh well - here's to running, tricking yourself for the better and fallen holiday trees - a new year is well and truly rolling!

Monday, January 21, 2013

'Yes' and...

New little print up by my door, to see my on my way out every day.
"Greet everything with 'Yes, and...'"

Tina Fey on saying 'yes' - well said.  I love this woman!

So great that these lessons from her improv class ended up shaping her whole approach to her career and that has made all the difference in her life.

Resonates with Eric's words on Yes.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Post-dinner-party brunch

This Friday gone I passed the new-homemaking milestone of having a couple of friends over for dinner.  It's funny how little acts become more important when you're doing them by yourself, in a new city, with an apartment that may or may not be kitted out with everything you need for a dinner party (turns out I'm missing a grater, serviettes and the corkscrew I *borrowed* from corporate housing breaks easily).  I was a little nervous of how it would go, especially without head chef C being there, but three courses and five hours later, it was one of the best nights I've had while here.

Anyway, I had another kind of excitement this morning when I remembered the delicious bonus that comes with hosting a dinner party: extravagant brunch made from leftover ingredients.  I cannot express how much I was looking forward to this.  The entire time while I went for a run this morning I was debating whether or not the potatoes should go in the eggs or just outside, cooked up with some onion like some kind of hash.  Which of the four happy cheeses leftover from the cheese board should I incorporate into my omelette?  These are the hard-hitting questions that plague my mind.
Pick at leftover strawberries and cheese while you start your cook up.

You can see that I decided on potatoes in, mushrooms out.   Picking at the strawberries continued, with some green juice. 
Enjoy with a view of anything except your laptop. 
This is the weekend, people.  You had a dinner party and now you're eating roasted portobello mushrooms and prosciutto for breakfast - you have a lot to be thankful for!  Now, put on some music and think about the walks you'll go on, before the cheese plate you'll probably have for dinner tonight.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nesting, Part 2

An quiet afternoon, in pictures.
The city gets this peachy glow just as the sun's going down - it's a magical view to come home to when you catch it.
Happy mail on my dining table.  Yes I work in silicon valley and still own a physical address book.  Yes that is panda bottom post-its.  Yes alright that is a pen in the shape of a dog.
Laundry, which I now know how to do.  I am officially a master of squirreling away my quarters.  No more running to the corner store for change with clothes sopping in fabric softener for me! 
I got way too much satisfaction out of this mac n cheese for dinner (organic from Whole Foods, which totally makes it ok) and a glass of red.
Small pieces to make up home.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

You don't get credit for being safe

I'm not a huge fan of the language but these 1.5 minutes from Ice T certainly get the point across.  I must admit I make colourful word-choice allowances for anyone who has ever been on Law & Order: SVU, and I can't actually separate Ice T from his character Fin.  Anyway, enjoy:

Dedicating this to a buddy of mine who has been everything from the person who warmed the desk next to me through to my biggest inspiration when I've needed it most.

Happy Sundays (or Mondays, for those folk living in the future).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When you are happy

The view from my kitchen at night.  If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Phils

A quick little round up of my first time back in the Philippines in 12ish years.  Unlike other trips we managed to get some classic tourist destinations in there as well, so our time visiting people and malls was punctuated by islands and fireflies - was great to see different aspects of a place I'd already come to be so familiar with.
The packed supermarkets on Christmas Eve - there were stalls selling everything from dried fish through to a McDonald's stand - you know, just in case you got a little hungry post grocery shopping.
What's a wedding without lechon?  The girl looks worried for the pig.
The Puerto Princesa Underground River - one of the new 7 wonders of the world, the 40 minute river ride was well worth the 5 hours there and back.  Incredible. 
Number of food photos is proportionate to how much we ate over the trip - this was lunch on an island in Honda Bay, capped off with a fresh coconut shake.
Leave 5 cents and don't forget to pick up your tissues on the way to the bathroom!
Ok, let's go back there now.  No really.
While not captured within the frames, the best thing about the trip was of course time with C and the family.  So thankful to have ended last year and started this one with what matters.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ok, 2013

Let's do this.

Wow it's been awhile!  I'm sort of proud of how long it's been since I've posted - roughly proves that I well and truly did tune out on everything while in the Phils.  I'm a little late out of the gates with my resolutions (or rather 'goals') for this year, but the S.M.A.R.T. ones are as follows:

1. Run the SF Marathon in June.
2. Finish reading 12 books - the operative word being 'finish'; I averaged it as 1 x book / per month to be realistic.
3. One day a week without Facebook.  As a start.

Of course, I have a whole laundry list of other aspirations and ideas for this year - ranging from weightier, personal ones ('stop second guessing every decision I make at work') through to the not so important ('learn to bake different types of fish in different ways'), but we don't have all evening.

I will leave you with some snaps that signal the return of this ritual as happy evidence of my inroads in making this fine city home:

First flowers!  Reminds me of #5 here.
A peaceful sight on my table, the Sunday before the first day back.
Happy happy new year all!  It's going to be great, I just know it.