Wednesday, October 28, 2009


1) Mer & Brian's visit: Excellent SF introduction. We went to Hardly Strictly, out in the Mission for Pakwan and Bi-rite ice cream, Tartine for brunch, Ocean Beach for sights... Then it was sadly already time to say goodbye. Mer is too adorable. Especially when she climbs into bed with you in the morning to chat.

2) Hardly Strictly w/ the roommates, Steve, Irena. Best moment: listening to Neko Case's I Wish I Was the Moon from Steve's shoulders. Then we had dinner and impromptu dance lessons back at 410.

3) Roommate dinner with Steve: this involved baby octopus, too many mussels, and too much crab. We blamed it on Steve. Who was surprisingly good at managing a kitchen full of people, food, and tasks. Kimon said he's be a good manager, if he was into that sort of thing.

4) Mysterious cough. Let's not talk about it. Now my ribs hurt, probably from the ridiculous, not-the-aftereffect-of-a-virus cough. I reject the doctor's prognosis that I'm developing asthma.

5) An amazing 4 days of activity. Weds -- Standing room at the opera, only $10, and we saw a great production of Salome! Pizza and beer w/ Helene, Garth, Nikil, Shannon, Allie, Irena... Thurs -- Hemlock for beer, The Don'ts, and Steve trying to set me up with a guy who looked catatonic and was living out of his car on Haight. But he *was* cute. Helene called a stop to it when she saw him rummaging in ash trays for cigarette butts. Probably a good call. Fri. -- welcome party/dance party. As Steve said, I was the first to start dancing, and the last to stop. As he *also* said, I dance the same to every song, only when I know the lyrics, I point. Good times. Slept over at Randy and Emilie's, got brunch in the morning. Nicknamed Steve "Emma." Sat. -- dinner party with Jill, Danny & Sarah, and Kevin, which turned into Kevin's surprise 30th birthday. With our homemade karaoke machine. ALSO good times. Sunday I had major recuperating, in the form of shopping and thinking about Halloween costumes.

6) Buying an overpriced sexy Marie Antoinette costume. Steve talked me into it. And when else will this opportunity ever arise?!

7) Roommate shopping trip to Rainbow. The line? 45 minute wait. Home for tasting, sampling, pickling...

ALSO: colloquium = Dec. 3rd. teaching in Singapore = nov. 8th - 24th.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Rome, Florence, Paris

And back again to the bay area. It was lovely, but I think for now I'm leaving the journal notes where they are -- in the books that I was reading along the way (namely, Goethe's Werther, Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, and Zola's Belly of Paris). Maybe I'll transcribe them on some cold, rainy November day.

Back home & trying to be more serious this year. Also cooking and baking a lot. A week ago we had an impromptu dinner party in honor of Garth's birthday, where we made roasted patty pan squash and chickpeas, yummy goat cheese and fig crostini, roasted cauliflower, and walnut and apple salad (with the new favorite 410 dressing: maple syrup and mustard, equal parts). The next night Steve hosted a dinner party in Berkeley, where the menu was fried eggplant with tomato-mint chutney and yogurt. Sorbet and fruit for dessert. And the NEXT night, we had an apartment dinner, with an eclectic mix of pear-sherry-vinegar salad, brie and pate and bread, corn pudding, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Then I had to run to the Blitzen Trapper concert, where I was "taken under the wing" of four tall guys. One of whom is named Will, and sporadically texts me. Recipes follow.

squash and chickpeas: easy!

really easy if you chicken out and put the pudding in ramikins rather than in the bowls of the squash:

clearly I switched out the raisins in favor of chocolate:

The other day I made my usual wheat bread. And then these amazing brownies:

And tonight I made this soup, but decided to skip the premade broth. It didn't suffer for it. Now I have tons of soup. Mer, help eat soup!!

I'm all ready for Mer's arrival. I have all sorts of California fruits -- persimmons, a pomegranate, figs -- and fennel salami and pink pearl apples and homemade bread in the freezer and jam and frozen cookie dough and leftover brownies...