I may well have posted this picture before, but I like it, so I’m posting it again.

That’s the Pacific Ocean off to the right, and I think that’s Montara Mountain rising above the fog, and then going right it’s San Bruno Mountain (I think) and Sutro Tower and the city and the Bay Bridge.

What I actually like best, though, is the telephone wire in the foreground. You’re not really in the woods.

Anyway, I seem to be busy on all fronts this morning.

The hardest part about keeping all the balls in the air may be not forgetting some of them — the ones that have fallen behind the sofa, for instance. One has every intention of retrieving them, covered in dust and cat hair as they are, in time to hurl them out the window. It’s just remembering that they’re there that’s the issue.

Ho hum.

Meaningful patterns


Still on a hunt for meaningful patterns.


It’s fun.

Also, let me show you my new wood rack.



I got up very early this morning to make a lamb stew for us and a birthday cake for a co-worker, which was nuts. I see that, now. I offered to do it to prevent the person who always does these things from having to do it. But now I’m going to have to make 4 more cakes. It was an easy cake, though. It was this:

Gâteau au Yaourt

– 2 eggs
– 250ml (1 cup) whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt (if you use two 125ml or 4oz tubs, you can use them to measure out the rest of the ingredients)
– 200g (1 cup) sugar (you can use an empty tub of yogurt and measure the equivalent of 2 yogurt tubs if you used the 125ml or 4oz kind)
– 80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil (or a bit less than 1 yogurt tub)
– 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 4 yogurt tubs)
– 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– a good pinch of salt
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste/extract
– 1 tablespoon light rum

Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F), line the bottom of a round 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and rum. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together — don’t overwork the dough. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.

From here.

Now I will get dressed.


It looks like the sun, doesn’t it?



I’m involved in this thing at work, and it involves creating a website, which of course means coming up with some kind of imagine, right?


It’s a thing about assessment, which to me means statistics and counting, and then creating some kind of meaningful pattern out of all those numbers, so it should be an image that has some kind of pattern, right?


Even if it’s a totally random one.

Here’s a kind of cool flickr group. Some of the pictures are not so great, but some are perfect.


As I walked home last night, in the dark, looking at how windows created patterns of light through which you could see people going about their daily life, or often just people’s things showing through the patterns of light, it struck me that it’s very pleasant, and probably very human, to want to take nature and either shape it into patterns, or at least understand it by thinking of it in meaningful patterns, and that a picture of some sort of pattern would really be a perfect metaphor for the idea of assessment.


Also, I think all this blogging has strangely given me a better sense for visual images, or at least more of an interest in them.


I have a lot of pictures of patterns.


Now to convince the rest of the committee . . .




An altogether pleasant weekend.

My friend B wanted to go on a hawk thing, but it was full, so instead we went to a local park full of redwoods and walked around. Along the way we saw a bunch of ladybugs. They do this in the winter — ah — here’s the explanation, and that’s exactly where I was, as you can see!


They were more impressive in person, because they were everywhere, but they’re small, so not so visible in photographs.

I also stacked a quarter cord of wood, put away the rest of the lingering Christmas decorations, went to the grocery store, went out to dinner on Saturday with B, whose husband was out of town, watched a lot of River Cottage, which somehow made the grocery buying and also the rather extensive (and crippling) weed-pulling on Sunday seem much more adventurous than they normally would have. I pretended I was a small-holder growing and eating local produce. Well, honestly, I really do. I fertilized my three cabbage plants and four broccoli plants and weeded the rose bed and gave it more compost and pulled about a billion wild onions out of my native meadow.

I know I’ll get no sympathy, but it does seem unfair that a person should have to be weeding in January. It seems to me that in January a person should be safely ensconced on the couch with some knitting or a book.


Speaking of January activities, I think I have convinced B that we should go skiing next weekend while the Superbowl is on. Time to go visit the snow while it’s there . . .

Ordinary life


There, for Mark — that’s Mount Diablo poking up there, behind the Golden Energy.


It was so still a week ago.


In any case, we’ve made it to the weekend.

There is potato-leek soup waiting for me in the slow cooker, and a driveway full of wood, apparently, which will need to be stacked. It may never get cold again, though, which makes me very sad.

I know — I don’t expect anyone to sympathize.


All right — there are a few more things to do around here, I’m at work, and then I’m going home.

I have to say, ordinary life is not a bad thing.



Here. In honor of that J Crew woman, I am wearing bright orange tights and a woodsy sweater.


You can see that Lucy wonders what the hell I am doing.

Also, in the picture I’m in M’s room. This picture is quite typical of what M’s room looks like. Blue walls covered with fashion photos and pictures of animals, all tacked up with painters’ tape. A fairy house on the floor. A hair device of some sort on what you can’t see is an orange rocking chair from her babyhood. Portfolios stacked against the wall.

In other nostalgic news, this morning I went to say goodbye one last time to the brown Toyota we bought before N was born. Well, also to get the fastrak toll device out of it. It was a great car, and I am sorry to see it go. Sniff.

I really like this part of January. The holidays are over. It’s nothing but ordinary days for a while, now. Good weather for coming home and eating soup for dinner, knitting a bit and going to bed early. Quite pleasant, actually.

All right — got to go.

View from the middle of the week



It’s evidence that I went out this weekend.

This was from a park near the nursery. This reminds me that I’ve somehow got to get that grass planted.

Also, it was lovely to be out.

And here is a view from Monday’s walk:


That was from Mount Tamalpais. Often, we’re somewhere and we can see Mount Tam, so it’s funny to actually be on it. There are tons of hikes there, and we really haven’t done any of them. That may be a goal for this year — hike Mount Tam.

Feels good to be out and about again.

And, it turns out that the town at the foot of the mountain is kind of cute, and also has a good hamburger restaurant. This is also part of the goal — to eat a lot of hamburgers, which we will richly deserve.

It is smog you’re seeing there — the cold weather last week caused an inversion layer, which is essentially dirty air trapped, I’m not sure how. Usually it all blows off to the central valley — lucky them.

Also, I can’t figure out how to do this properly, but click on this link, and then choose the slide show, and then look at the second slide.

I am in love with those pants.

Okay. That’s it.


What could be better than a holiday weekend?

I’m rattling around the house on my own while K is away, which feels very odd because he’s not away very often.

I have:

  • Watched two whole seasons of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage series. Pretty amazing — I want a river cottage, although I don’t want to do the butchering. Pigs look like a lot of fun, though.
  • Cleaned off the chair in my bedroom.
  • Gone to the native garden nursery and bought plugs for the part of the lawn that we never did right to begin with
  • Talked to Eldest Daughter. She sounds good.
  • Washed two sweaters that had been sitting on the chair in my bedroom for a long time
  • Did lots of laundry.
  • Finished up the box breakdown from Christmas.
  • Put the new duvet cover, a late Christmas present to ourselves which just arrived in one of said boxes, on the duvet.
  • Had a long conversation with A about planning for old age and people’s relationships with stuff.
  • Listened, vaguely, to the news of the inauguration. I like ceremonies like that that are fairly simple and involve standing outside in winter.

Plans for today:

  • Call my mother
  • Put away the Christmas decorations, currently on the bench and all the armchairs in the living room
  • Start a black bean soup in the crock pot
  • Go for a walk with A.

Okay — can’t stop now! Got a lot to do!