What are your plans for this weekend? Jack’s thinking about having a quiet night in with a glass of local pinot on the fire escape, listening to the sounds of the city in the background. Maybe watch a documentary on bees later if it feels right. #hipster
It’s noon. I’m thinking eggs. My slippers are a good five feet from the bed, so you know, I will have to sit and think about that for at least 20 more minutes. Mila is making her rounds, meowing loudly in each room she passes, announcing to the world she’s hungry. Jack is more subtle, remaining by my side until I make a move. Trey’s in the shower, says he wants to ride the ship yard later.
It’s cold in my apartment. The one time I adjusted the radiator valve it caused a leak downstairs so now I just wear more clothes. My mind’s on surfing somewhere warm. I won’t go in the water here, not now. The water is too cold and it’s white shark season. There’s this rock out at the Farallones (some islands just off the coast), called seal rock. It’s called that because during high tide the rock gets flooded and all the elephant seals that typically occupy it get washed off the rocks into the water. It’s a popular place to see great whites because a big, blubbery elephant seal is like chocolate to them. After leading trips out there and experiencing a couple 18 footers wipe out seals, it’s like….nah, I’m good for a bit.
So yeah anyways, Sundays. You really can’t beat them. Sleeping in late, eating eggs in your pajamas, playing around in ship yards with the sounds of the fog horns in the distance. check. check. check.
This year we wanted to cut down our own tree, so after a quick google search we found that there was a tree farm deep in the East Bay hills.The farm was started by a U.C. Berkeley forestry professor in the 60s who wanted to provide a place in the woods where you could cut your own tree every year. As we drove through the hills, we passed through densely forested areas and came across the tiny town of Canyon, a hidden, unincorporated community, home to only 200 people and a post office.
When we arrived at the farm, they gave us a hand saw, a couple twists of twine and a map showing where to find the type of tree we wanted. We were looking for a small/mediumish Douglas Fir that would fit nicely in the corner of our living room, but not be so big that it overpowered everything else. Something a little more like A Charlie Brown Christmas and a little less like the Griswold’s Christmas Vacation.
We found a little patch of trees we liked and stopped along the dirt road we had come in on. As soon as we opened the back door to the Land Cruiser, Jack jumped down and sprinted full speed through the rows of trees, zigging and zagging around them like he was completing a high speed obstacle course. We walked along the rows, inspecting each tree. Too tall. Too short. Too fat. Too lopsided. Then we came upon the one that was just right. “Where’s Jack?” I asked Trey. Just then a little girl screamed “DOGGY!” in the distance. We stuck our heads up over the trees to make sure it was him. It was. “He’s friendly!” I called out to her before whistling him back to my side. Trey sawed our tree down and carried it, then together we secured it to the roof of the truck.
Now our tree is home with white lights wrapped around it’s branches looking all ready for what is expected to be a most excellent Festivus.
I got a text from Trey around 4pm on Friday afternoon asking if I wanted to get some dinner and see a movie after work. I was down, happy that the week was coming to an end. I got home and combed through my closet for something to wear. Jack followed dutifully at my feet, moving from the closet to the mirror to the closet over and over again until he got tired. Finally he circled a few times and laid down in the hallway. I settled on a gray sweater, black skinny jeans, chelsea boots and some apple-y red lipstick I picked up a few weeks ago. Trey walked in a little while later bearing two bottles of red wine, one in each hand, presenting them like gifts at an alter (I may be embellishing here, but that’s what it seemed like at the time). “This one is the storeowner’s favorite, and this one I just liked because there was a dog on the label”, he told me, reminding me why we get along so well. We opened a bottle and laid in our hammock looking up reviews of sushi restaurants nearby. Then we made our way downtown for some sashimi, sapporo and miso soup. After dinner we stopped in at a french bakery and managed to get the last chocolate macaroon left in the case. Then we walked the few blocks to the theater and watched Night Crawler, the one with Jake Gyllenhaal where he begins covering night crime in LA and sells his footage to a local news station. It was equal parts entertaining and creepy.
On the way home I picked some wintry looking foliage from the nearby trees and bushes, carried it home and hung it on the wall the next day using some twine. It’s beginning to look festive around here, especially since yesterday we went and chopped down our tree! I plan on sharing that later this week.
1. Paddles, out of the water until Spring / 2. Jack on our walk yesterday morning / 3. Reviving the small succulent a tenant before us left behind / 4. Messy bed, happy heart / 5. Some holiday diy happenings around here / 6. Pine cones in the morning light / 7. The prettiest twine
It rained all week, which was really great for the trees and plants around here. California has been in one of the worst droughts and this week the sky finally opened up and made up for its lapse in precipitation. Jack wasn’t very psyched to stay inside all day though. I came home to find him sitting up on the bed looking out the window, doing a little soul searching on a Wednesday afternoon. By the third day of constant down pour, we were all ready to trade in our soggy socks for dry ones. This morning we woke up to see the clouds had cleared. Mila Cat rolled around contently in the shafts of sunlight breaking across the foot of our bed.
Let’s see… this weekend we’re going looking for a tree. A certain kind with branches ready to be adorned with ornaments. One with clusters of evergreen needles that smell like winter. Then I’m sleeping until noon on Sunday, just watch me.
This past week we flew to Tennessee to spend Thanksgiving with family. We all stayed in a big chalet at the top of a snowy mountain overlooking the town of Gatlinburg in the Great Smokey Mountains. It was fun to get together and eat green bean casserole and pie, watch movies, play poker, dodge snowballs from being thrown at each other, and just relax with the glow of a fire heating the room. While we were there we taste-tested authentic Tennessee moonshine and ate pizza in town. In the mornings we woke later than usual, lounged around in pajamas while sipping coffee and looked at the black bear footprints in the snow from the back deck (they came through the back yard over night!). We met a new wee family member for the first time and ate an enormous dinner with a house full of other familiar faces both young and old. We had a nice time, but are glad to be back at home snuggling up with Jack and Mila cat. Hope your Thanksgiving was as relaxing as mine. I can’t believe it’s already December…winter is here!
Last weekend we got a new truck. She’s a 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser in the loveliest shade of hunter green. Name’s Lola. La-La-La-La Lola.
We’d been looking for an adventure-mobile for a while now. An old school one with character. One that we could throw a few surf boards on the top of and head down the coast, or lay a mattress in the back and go camping up in Lake Tahoe. An ad for this land cruiser popped up online last week and we collectively decided she was too rad to pass up. So we waited for the weekend and drove down to Santa Monica after work on Friday to check her out.
I’ve always wanted a truck. Something you could pile your friends in and drive up to the mountains, or haul a boat to the lake. I always liked the freedom that seemed to come with having a truck. The Kerouac of vehicles, you could say. But sixteen year old me did not get an adventurous jeep or truck, I got to kick-it with an old green saturn that was in need of a new starter. Later I’d graduate to a hand me down honda civic hatchback with no power steering. They were good cars that got me from A to B, most of the time.
So after a green tea latte and some delicioso food from Urth Cafe in LA, we bought us a truck. And that night I did what any girl with her first truck would do. I turned the heat on the floor board, rolled the windows down, listened to gin blossoms and other 90s greatest hits with my arm out the window and drove home up the coast.
I was at the hardware store the other day and saw some cool copper piping in the plumbing section. I’d been really feeling copper lately, especially in the kitchen, so I got one of the pipes cut down, brought it home, and made this little rail to hold utensils on in our kitchen. It was simple to make and looks pretty sweet up there, if I do say so myself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
18″ of 1/2″ copper piping
2 1/2″ copper plated tube straps
4 1/2″ 45 degree copper elbows
4 1″ phillips-head screws
Copper “S” hooks
Determine the length of piping you need for your space. I chose 18″ since our space was relatively small. I had someone at the hardware store cut down a larger piece of piping since they only came in lengths longer than what I needed. Once you have your desired length of copper pipe, connect two of the copper elbows to each side of the piping, creating a “Z” like shape on each end. This is so your pipe will stick out from the wall about 1/2” and allowing you to hang your “S” hooks on the pipe. Once you’ve connected the elbows, add one tube strap to each end. Using a level, hold the rail to the wall and draw a line where your screws need to be in order for it to be straight on the wall. Then, using a drill, secure the pipe to the wall with the phillips-head screws. I chose silver because I liked the difference in the metals, but copper screws would look good too. If you’re planning on hanging pots, I recommend using anchors to make sure your rail can support the weight. You can also add gorilla glue to the inside of the elbows before connecting them in order to add strength to your rail. Once you’ve put up your rail, add the copper “S” hooks (I used these), and you’re ready to hang your utensils! Good luck!
1. The lesser-known species of wildlandia / 2. For hot toddies / 3. Just hanging around / 4. Excited for scarves / 5. A new bench that we obviously have no idea what to put on / 6. A subway selfie / 7. The neighbor’s pup, from my window
A cute story about a woman’s first few days with a fiddle leaf fig tree.
Speaking of which, I went on a quest for a fiddle leaf fig tree of my own since they are all the rage right now. I came up empty handed. I just love their big, protuberant leaves and maybe, just maybe, one will come into my possession soon. Let’s see…last night we went to a Hendrix gin tasting event and made blueberry green tea cocktails with some good friends, this weekend we’re heading to LA. You know, the good stuff. Happy weekend, friends.
This weekend we had planned to go south to hit up a skate park and hang out at the beach, but since Trey ate it on his skateboard last week and tore his hands up pretty bad, we decided to opt for some hiking along the beach in Point Reyes instead, sans-hands.
A vole! ^
Dairy cows! ^
Jack, what are you doing up there? ^
My first experience with Point Reyes was when I was working for a veterinary clinic that specialized in treating sick and injured marine mammals, mostly seals and sea lions, several years back. This particular year hundreds of seals and sea lions began stranding themselves along the California coast, disoriented and having seizures on the beach. The influx was caused by the seals and sea lions eating prey laden with domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by phytoplankton which impairs brain function and causes seizures in marine mammals when ingested in large quantities. The facility quickly became filled to capacity with hundreds of young pups and adults that showed signs of the illness, and we worked around the clock to get the recovered animals back to sea. One day I was tasked with loading up two rehabilitated California sea lions and a northern elephant seal pup into the back of a pick-up truck and making the hour and a half long trek up the coast to release them at a protected area, Drakes Beach, in Point Reyes. The beach is a popular haul-out and rookery for seals during certain parts of the year, making for a good place to introduce the animals back into the wild (pic below). We backed the truck down onto the beach and unloaded the animals, watching them make a beeline for the tide and swim off into the waves. I came home that day and told Trey all about it. It was some of the prettiest land I’d ever seen and convinced him we had to go back. We’ve visited there a lot since then, sometimes to walk on the beach, other times to whale watch from the cliffs high above the ocean, and sometimes just to get away from the urban sprawl of the city.
This weekend we put Jack in the back of the car and set out towards Point Reyes, stopping at a cute little place called The Garage in Fairfax to look at some local made goods, then driving further north through the redwoods. We got to the quaint town of Inverness and stopped to have some lunch. There’s always a crowd of people getting lunch at the little town strip, but we like to skip the lines and head to a deli/grocery store a little further down the road. There’s never a wait, the sandwiches are on par and there’s always an open picnic table outside to sit and eat. We got to Point Reyes with nothing on the agenda. It was the kind of day where you take your shoes off and have no real plans except sitting in the sand and throwing drift wood for your dog to chase. Jack had a blast running down the beach and up the dunes. He smiles all the time, everyone says. He’s technically panting most of the time, but when he’s out there chasing sticks and running around and he looks up at you with his mouth hanging wide open, it’s hard not to think he’s flashing a big ol’ smile our way.
Which in turn makes us smile, in the best kind of way.