That I posted this like a week ago.
Andrew got here on the 20th, and since then we've been celebrating the holidays (ie, gifts, candles, & cooking), taking day trips, watching movies, and generally catching up on together time.
21st: Shopping in the rain for groceries & a glass pitcher. After buying brandy, and realizing I was never going to finish this bottle of red wine, I decided on embarking on the culinary adventure that is sangria. Beautiful with floating fruit.
Upon returning, we saw that a Crate & Barrel box had made it to my door. As soon as I saw it, I became convinced that Andrew had bought me the same thing that I had bought him: a fondue set. Because I had looked at some sets at C&B, and ultimately found a larger one at Target. So on the second to last night of Hanukkah, we officially discovered that we had, indeed, decided to buy each other the same thing.
24th: The Christmas portion of Chrismakkuh officially began.
25th: Was spent opening presents under my little growing tree, talking on the phone with the family as they opened presents, and preparing for dinner. Christmas is all about the cooking. We decided on a vegetarian celebration, with matzoh ball & veggie "stoup," butternut squash, homemade stuffing (including my homemade bread), & cranberry-apple compote. We took an evening walk in search of Christmas lights, found some cheery houses, and enjoyed the fact that in CA one can actually walk around looking at lights without getting frostbite. Played scrabble. Dessert: our own gingerbread cookies (slightly underbaked) & chocolate fondou.
26th: Andrew rented a car, and we became mobile. Since we didn't get it till after 3 pm, and because it was raining, we devoted ourselves to shopping. We returned gifts, picked out new ones, wandered about in Ikea for hours, & went grocery shopping. At Ikea I found a duvet cover that was on sale for $10, and which Andrew & I agreed might make a nice couch cover (studio couches are wretched: ugly neutral pattern & coated with a surely carcinogenic liquid proof substance). Come to find out, it's the exact same pattern on my little desk lamp. Apparently I am very attracted to red viney flowers on a white background.
27th: We attempted to take a nature walk, but ended up first in a smelly bird bath reserve, and secondly in a park that was supposed to be closed and that was especially wind-whipped that day. Saw overly friendly geese, then geese lined up on a rock wall in the wind (strange), and a heron and egret hanging out in the wetlands.
After, we went to the "Great Mall" in Milpitas. And it is indeed a huge mall. I won't go so far as to say "great" (that would be more of a value judgment), but there are a prodigious number of stores and outlets. Found a few things -- including some new jeans -- but mainly wandered around in circles and ate at the food court.
28th: Trip to Half Moon Bay -- We visited the tide pools, which were beautiful in the sun, and saw star fish, some sort of sun fish (basically like a star fish with legs multiplied), sea anemones, abalone shells, urchin shells, hermit crabs... Went back to the town to explore and revisit shops we liked last year. Especially the grocery store, which we remembered as being strangely inexpensive. Apparently though they figured out that everyone else is charging more for, well, everything. Caught the sunset, and Andrew further experimented with his camera.
Dinner: eggplant parm
29th: Finally made it to Big Basin! The trip there was intense in and of itself: winding highways that lead to ever narrower and twistier roads. Beautiful though. The park was pretty quiet -- we took off with a map & planned to make a loop. We quickly ran into trouble: a bridge was covered in caution tape. I figured the bridge was still safer than my trying to jump across a river, but Andrew insisted upon finding a better place at which to cross. And we did -- it just seemed a tad wrong off-trailing. Anyway, after lunching near construction (not sure what they were doing), we finally got onto the trail and stayed there. Didn't see a single banana slug, so Andrew took many, many pictures of trees. Trees in sunlight and in shade, big trees, trees with me for scale, trees growing against or into each other...
After, we went down to Santa Cruz. Made it just in time for the sunset on the ocean. We decided not to search for the monarch butterflies in the dark, and instead went to the bookstore we enjoyed last year. I found the copy of Portrait of a Lady we're reading this quarter and Ian Watt's Rise of the Novel. Successful trip.
30th: Got up early and headed into the city to meet Andrew's relatives for a wander through the SF farmer's market, lunch in the ferry building, & shopping. Got lost in the 3 levels of Forever 21 (eek), found nothing I wanted in my price range at Anthropologie (except, you know, gift ribbons), & tagged along as Andrew tried to find the perfect air blower to clean his camera lens (update: he finally found it at the first place we went to here in Palo Alto).
31st: Decided to take another trip to the coast, and went on a nice drive with views, especially around Devil's Slide. Took a short hike in the hills on the ocean, where we climbed to the top of one hill for the view, sat looking out as if we might actually see whales, and watched some hawks circle & scream. Oh, and we finally saw a banana slug. One doing its sluggy thing on some dog poo. We decided not to take a picture of that one.
Returned to the tide pools, which this time had attracted some harbor seals. They weren't doing much, although one did snap at a low-flying seagull.
On the way home, we stopped at Target to buy Cranium (yay!). And we got majorly waylaid in Target's after-Christmas sale.
Anyways: back at home, we made pizza for dinner. This was more intensive than it sounds, since we started from scratch. We made our own dough (Andrew closely monitored the condition of the dough: very concerned that I was going to "overwork" it), topped it, and were pleasantly surprised with the creation.
1st: Drove to Berkeley for R & J's annual New Year's brunch. We stayed longer than we planned, but the time flew by: lots of people to talk to, and many adorable little kids. After gathering advice, we promptly got lost in San Rafael (beautiful church against the hill in the afternoon sun), but made it to the Marin Headlands in time for Andrew to take (yet more) pictures of the sunset. Enjoyed walking along the beach, and driving further up for the view. And we finally figured out where you can get the best view of the Golden Gate. Then, we explored Sausalito -- I wanted French fries at first, but ended up deciding on visiting the candy store. Yum. We were then going to head straight home, but Andrew cleverly took us on a driving tour of SF.
2nd: Last day with the car, so we ran errands: more grocery shopping & a very large bag of potting soil for my little tree. Repotting the tree was an adventure: we moved it with a shopping car that mysteriously appeared by my building over break, and scooped out soil with a measuring cup (since I don't exactly having gardening tools lying around).
3rd: Went onto campus early, and later relaxed at home... watched Medium, made Indian food with the pretty good Korma sauce from Trader Joe's.
4th: Some work, some Andronico's sale shopping (annual soup sale: Amy's organic chunky tomato bisque & medium chili = most perfect foods to be found in a can), and some TV (new OC).
5th: We had planned on a trip into the city, but decided to put it off till Sunday to get an earlier start and take advantage of free Muni service. So instead, we finished watching The Smartest Guys in the Room (awesome: Enron is the case study for the problems with American capitalism & unquestioning trust in the virtue of the "free market," not to mention terribly telling in its connections with the Bush administration), found the classroom where I'll be teaching next week, biked to Menlo Park to check out Nak's market (woohoo Yakisoba noodles & dried shitake mushrooms & cheap nori!) and to buy more coffee. After, Andrew helped me learn how to scan documents in as PDFs & manipulate them in Adobe. Slowly learning the ropes.
Tonight we did the sushi thing (well, Andrew did the sushi thing, and I partook of it), & I just made creme brulee.