eplusj

[ the making of a home & life together ]

Reason to Celebrate

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One year ago on the weekend before Memorial Day I married my best friend, my best love. We went for a stroll today under those same trees, by those same buildings, surrounded by similar celebration sounds. Life surely has changed in this past year, but it is richer and filled with an even deeper love. I couldn't ask for a better way to celebrate our anniversary. Wonderful chaos, tender simplicity. I love you both, my dear Eric & little Jasper.


New Life

A year ago we had just left behind a Friday (ok maybe even Thursday) bar hopping, work consuming, restaurant going, us us us kind of life. Today we find ourselves in a completely different place physically and emotionally as well. One could never imagine the dramatic change and transition. Two words perfectly describe it all---

Wonderful chaos.


a project of a different kind

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WK5D6 / WK11D5 / WK12D5

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WK14D3 / WK15D1 / WK17D5

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WK18D5 / WK21D0 / WK30D5

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WK31D6 / WK32D5 / WK33D5

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WK34D5 / WK35D6 / WK36D4

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WK37D4 / WK38D3 / WK39D0

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WK39D4 / WK40D5

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1WKPOST / 2WKPOST

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6 MONTHS POST & BACK TO NORMAL!


Smile Like You Mean It

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My son, my husband, & the California coastline open road just before sunset. Could there be any greater happiness?


Days Gone By

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Today is the one year marker since departing from our Brooklyn home. What a difference 365 days can make...Quit/transfer jobs, cross country move & road trip, put together/have most awesome wedding ever, travel from sea (Spain) to sea (Maui), backyard homestead started, trip to New Orleans, train & run NYC Marathon (Eric only), get pregnant (Jenn only), have baby, buy car...zzzzzzzz


never would i have imagined

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a new kind of valentine's day

Our "normal" Valentine's tradition has changed this year. The last few years you would have found us snuggled in a dark little booth of a wood clad Japanese brasserie in Williamsburg indulging on the annual omakase of love. I imagine that this year is going to bring something different. Alas problem number one, being 36 weeks pregnant and STILL not able to partake in raw seafood of any kind (such a tragedy). Two, we are no longer anywhere near Brooklyn. It's hard to believe two lives can change so drastically within the span of 12 months. Three, speaking of changing lives, there is a third life being created inside of me right now. Where previous love holidays were solely focused on the ever growing relationship between the two of us, we are now opening our hearts wider & deeper to make room for this little one into our family. I am fairly certain the little one is going to be the best belated valentine ever, winning over oysters & sashimi by miles.


contemplating parenthood / next there will be three

Just a handful of weeks remain now. We took a Sunday morning drive for a trip to the small strip of beach where words escape my mouth & an abundance of memories fill my heart. It's energizing (and so important) for me to have this moment of quiet and calm before what I know is going to be a very emotional, enduring time/change in our lives. It's hard to believe that most likely this will be the last time visiting, relaxing, & listening to the ocean waves as just two. Next time there will be three.


kitty love

Azriel has no idea that her world (and ours) is about to be turned upside down...or right side up. Down the rabbit-hole we shall go.

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"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled 'ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.
'Well!' thought Alice to herself, 'after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!' (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! 'I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. 'I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think--' (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) '--yes, that's about the right distance--but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. 'I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think--' (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) '--but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?' (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke--fancy curtseying as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) 'And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. 'Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I should think!' (Dinah was the cat.) 'I hope they'll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?' And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, 'Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, 'Do bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, 'Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, 'Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!' She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.
There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again."

-Lewis Carroll, Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit-Hole, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


friday night rainy lights


anniversary sunset

Celebrating our 7 year anniversary of knowing each other with another serendipitous rooftop sunset followed by a quiet home cooked meal. I still love him so.

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not quite the same

The holiday season snuck up on us this year and attacked us from behind. Albeit it has been quite a busy last 365 days for us, but it doesn't help that the scenery around these parts doesn't resemble the blustery cold New York winters that we've somehow grown accustomed to. As Eric said the other day, "This ain't no Rockefellar Center."

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love

If I know what love is, it is because of you.

"Narcissus & Goldmund", 1930, Herman Hesse


stocking within a stocking

Micro's first Christmas. This entire trip was filled with stories of family history and memories, or lack thereof. The importance of sharing and openess is something I hope that we will be able to foster within our own growing family. For me, it is often that act of remembering, or going back in time, that triggers precious moments of melancholic nostalgia. Whether it be of happy childhood play friends or of tough family moments, it is crucial that we hand in hand try to burn these images into our brains. It makes me sad realizing that Eric and I have recently "lost" our shared Google calendar that dated back to 2005. It was the one place I could count on as a record of our trips and dates and of our daily lives. Whether they were banal and mundane tasks (the days we paid our internet bill), or special memories not to be forgotten (our traditional Valentine omakase dinners at Zenkichi), that calendar was very much a record of the beginnings of our life together.  Recreating that calendar is going to be quite a task, but it is evident from our trip that it is in our best interest to do so sooner than later. When we are 80 years old and our hair has turned to grey, it would be nice to look back on our memoir with fondness instead of agreeing with an "I don't remember."

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basking

A stop at Maxwell Cafe to get our Southern California Christmas vacation under way. Nothing quite like eating sunshine for breakfast.

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belly vs. brawn

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poems for micro

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

"somewhere i have never travelled", 1931, e.e. cummings


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


"i carry your heart with me", 1920, e.e. cummings


25 weeks & counting

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quiet

It has been a busy month for us and with the holidays approaching I can only imagine that it is going to get more intense. There are many things to record here, marathons, meetings with old friends, late fall harvests. But I want to take a moment and focus on the happy moments of quiet that exist in our life. Most of last week and continuing till this Friday, Eric has been overloaded with a major deadline which means many late nights and much lost sleep.  It makes moments like this past Saturday over a breakfast of cheesecake & toast so precious.


baby kimonos

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I just discovered BabySoy kimono clothing.  meltmeltmelt  Now if only I knew how to sew so I can make matching shoes. If ever a sewing machine does fall from the sky into my lap, I would love to make these cute DIY baby kimono shoes for sizes 0 - 6 months.  more melting  I found a simple PDF pattern from Aimee of Home Spun Threads that seems perfect for a novice like me.


tribute to innovation

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but some day not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living some one else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They some how already know what you truly want to become. Every thing else is secondary.”

-Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005


a night to remember

Whenever I see the full moon rising from the kitchen window I think of that first night when we found out that I was pregnant. Our lives, although already drastically changed since the previous 3 months, would now be changed even more dramatically 8 months into the future. Tonight the moon is only half, but I find myself looking ahead to the when it is full again and the reminiscing that now accompanies it's fullness.

Looking forward to look back.

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training

How he finds time to send me pictures of the setting sun while he is on his 16 mile marathon training run I have no idea, however the gesture is much appreciated especially in my growing bulbous state. If you don't already know, Eric has began training for the ING New York City Marathon just after the 4th of July and I am continually impressed with his progress and determination. He hasn't missed a single day of training at all, which consist of running 4 of the 7 days with 1 additional day of cross-training. The long-pushing-the-distance-farther run occurs every Saturday and I find myself on the edge of my seat as the time that he is away from the house has gone from 30 minutes to now 3 hours. I'm always a little fearful that he is going to stumble through the front door and just collapse, but I'm surprised every time that he is still somehow able to walk (ever so slowly) and speak (though feeble) saying, "I made it!"  I am so proud of him and every week that passes my pride grows more knowing that this was further than he ran last week, and last week was even the longest he has every run in his life to this point. 


The marathon is now only 7 weeks away on Nov. 6 which means that Eric has completed well past half of the training! There will be a few hurdles in the next couple weeks---like finding a place to run 18 miles on our vacation to New Orleans at the end of the month and adjusting to jet lag as we fly back only a day and a halg before the actual race. But I am confident in my new husband now (I wasn't so sure last July) that he will finish the race strong. I hope that he will feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment that I have for him now.

I think that as race day approaches there will be more information on the official marathon website where you can possibly track the runners during the race.  For now, I'll just post a link below so that you can view the marathon course map and see where Eric is going to run his 26.2 miles through all 5 boroughs of NYC.

ING New York City Marathon Interactive Course Map

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infestation

Went down to the garden to check on the crops as I try to do daily, and much to my sad surprise, all my cabbage related crops had holes in the leaves or stems missing the leaves completely! The culprit, a little velvety caterpillar like pest that camouflaged itself nicely.  Arrrrgh! I quickly inspected each and every leaf of the brussel sprouts, the kale, and my dear romanesco broccoli plants. All of them had these bugs, and all of the poor seedling plants look eaten.  After quickly picking off all the bugs that I could find and scooping them into the plastic cup that I had been sipping out of, I stormed upstairs to consult my gardening bible ("Golden Gate Gardening" by Pam Peirce) right away. I was able to diagnose the inch long caterpillar as the infamous Cabbageworm.  Now if I could find a solution on how to rid the garden of these leaf munchers before my entire winter crop is destroyed.

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engels & uglydolls

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Vergesslicher Engel, c.1939, Paul Klee / Engel Voller Hoffnung, c.1939, Paul Klee

Gato Deluxe, c.2011, Uglydoll / Dave Darinko Gray, c. 2011, Uglydoll

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Engel im Kingergarten, c.1939, Paul Klee / Scellen-Engel, c.1939, Paul Klee

Uppy, c.2011, Uglydoll / Ice-Bat, c.2011, Uglydoll


speaking of growing things

Welcome to existence, our dear MicroStimmel.

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plum conserve

When my new sister-in-law suggested helping me break in our new canning supplies, I jumped with glee as I had just stumbled across a wonderful plum conserve recipe a few days prior. Not to mention our weekend trips to the Farmer's Market proved that stone fruit season was most definitely in full swing.

When I mentioned to my parents my desire to preserve, pickle, & can, I was met with slightly confused eyes and a shrug. I guess I have surprised them with my desire to go back to "old fashioned" ways of living. A couple years back while visiting my Grandma in Iowa, I was sent down to the cellar to get some beans & beets. This was task that I had grown accustomed to for as long as I can remember visit's to Grandpa & Grandma's house. I used to be met with shelves 5 times my arm length and 2 times my height of all things pickled and preserved. But not this time. There I was, holding the absolute last jar of beans and beets in the whole basement. I could hardly believe it. In that moment, something inside me clicked and I knew that someday I wanted to teach my children that this was the way Grandma did it...from small seed in hand, to growing plant in dirt, to ripe harvest, to table/jar lasting through the winter.

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[Plum Conserve recipe via Serious Eats]


clothesline love affair

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exploring west coast FLW

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We were lucky enough to get to explore the Hanna House, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece close to Stanford, this weekend. Wish there were more pictures to share but no interior photos allowed. I'm probably pushing the limits with this exterior reaching indoors as is!


ryder park

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Notes for remembering:

  1. Strange to think that this "hill" of a sculpture park that now lines the Bay used to be where my dad and I brought old appliances and trash to dump.
  2. Although pretty as it may seem, every once in awhile you still get a whiff of sewer and then you realize the water treatment plant is to your back.
  3. A lovely surprise running into brother & sister-in-law at the top of the hill taking Gizmo for their own family stroll.
  4. Discovered some beautiful orange parasitic moss beneath the bridge.  Aren't most things toxic strangely alluring and pretty?
  5. It's nice that we don't have to go far at all for a stroll along the water.


seedlings in progress

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From top to bottom - yellow pear tomato, greek miniature basil, garlic chives, lemon cucumber, sweet banana pepper, lemon basil.

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Japanese mizuna for future salad making.

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My dear little beet-lings have begun to leaf!


a-frame for the cukes

Now that my cucumbers are beginning to outgrow their egg carton, it was time to start thinking of how to control the vines. We really needed the vines to keep from going haywire as well as not interfere with our still undesigned plans for a deck/bbq area. In our efforts to also empty the "junk" out of the garage area, we discovered the pieces of a dismantled futon frame that could be put to new use. The place where I laid my head to brief rest during those CalPoly college years now finds new purpose and life as a cucumber trellis.  Combined with leftover yellow wedding project twine, some picture frame eyehooks & screws that were lying around, I think we've come up with a beautiful solution that will keep our veggies hangining nicely off the ground.

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origami pots

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blooming cactus

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tuber testing

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home

No man but feels more of a man in the world if he have but a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property.

-Charles Dudley Warner


re-used brick

While the warmth lingers in the air, our focus is primarily going to be on outdoor projects/turning the garage into a workshop. When winter comes... Ha! This is going to be nothing like the east coast winters I've endured for the last 10 years! As I was saying, when winter comes we will turn to the inside of our apartment. Current backyard projects include:

  1. Assemble tumbling compost.
  2. Demolish the metal patio swing that had seen it's time. The local squirrels were already making trips back and forth with mouthfuls of seat stuffing.
  3. Move old brick that was in front of swing to create a spot in the corner where the tumbling compost can sit level.
  4. Design & build a bbq/deck/potting/outdoor gathering space where said metal swing once sat.
  5. Start a year round vegetable garden.

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black prince, yellow pear, mystery compost

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a place to call home

It's amazing what a little sky and dirt can do to improve happiness levels. That is our apartment on the top floor showing the living room windows and our little balcony. The windows on the right are ours too, and the ones on the left (that you can't see) are also ours! On the other side of the fence there are majestic, looming eucalyptus' that make up for the busy sound of passing cars.

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tumbling composter

Huge eucalyptus trees=years of fallen acorns & bark=lots of bad soil=much needed soil remediation=tumbling composter!

When we opened the box and discovered 34 pages of instructions, saw that the tools required were going to force us to the local hardware store, and determined the drill's battery level was zilch, we realized that maybe we should have started this task a little earlier than mid-afternoon. This Home Depot purchase was going to be a much longer than your typical IKEA installment.

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flower bath

In addition to moving and making this place a home, we've also been busy with all the wonderful facets of finally bringing our DIY wedding to fruition. One of the lovely "wedding aftermaths" has been finding places for all my wonderful flower arrangements. I'm so happy to see pieces of our garden (the grey cinneraria, mom's rosemary & bay leaf snippets, succulents galore) included in each bouquet of joy. I am such deep gratitude to my dearest friend Liz for conjuring up such floral magic.

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mills creek canyon

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Notes for remembering:

  1. Staying close to home today, wedding stuffs in the works but the need for a fresh morning start still exists.
  2. First sign says, "Poison Oak" causes horrific flashbacks of my very allergic childhood and my love of Aveeno products.
  3. Encountered redwoods(!) and an eroded bridge.
  4. So quiet.
  5. California dark greenery with two brief glimpses of the Bay.


sawyer camp trail

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Notes for remembering:

  1. 6 miles along the Crystal Springs Resevoir.
  2. Deer so close just lounging under the trees.
  3. Two rabbit sightings.
  4. Discussions of Eric's first training seminars (as taught by him).
  5. Waking up so early on Sunday mornings never felt so good.


first brunch

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a garden exists

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makeshift bookshelves v2.0

Transported all the way from our Greenpoint Brooklyn apartment were Makeshift Bookshelves v1.0 (plain white IKEA shelving in combo with IKEA wooden boxes turned on their side to act as vertical supports). These successfully have made their way into what we are calling "the office".  It appears though that our book collection can spread out a little into the bedroom as well, but alas IKEA no longer sells the same wooden boxes.  After an hour of brainstorming in Home Depot, version 2.0 was born (similar white shelves with 4 stacked garden pavers). Keep in mind, the majority of the 1 hour was discussing what profile & color the pavers should be.

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fort funston

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Notes for remembering:

  1. Second Saturday of being California residents again.
  2. Overwhelmed with ocean air & foggy beauty.
  3. Found objects: 1 whole intact sand dollar, pine cones on the beach, ice plant, writings in the moss, purple & pink graffiti on the sewer tunnel.
  4. Watch out for hang glider landing zone and the hugenormous black crows.
  5. First attempt at weekend walks, a necessary part of the routine for better living.


20 good dilemnas

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[Image screenshot via Bay Area Hiker]

  1. Waking up with the sun.
  2. Seeing the sun rise from one side of the apartment in the morning, and the sunset from the other side at night.
  3. Having an apartment with windows on three sides.
  4. Crisp, chilly, dew drop filled mornings. Every morning.
  5. No longer needing a humidifier in order to breathe normally.
  6. A cat that is actually bounding and leaping from room to room.
  7. Room to room.
  8. Commuting for 1 hour is a journey that travel 16 miles instead of 5.
  9. Walking to the local produce store just 2 blocks from home and getting Blue Bottle coffee.
  10. Living on a "busy" street where the sound of cars whooshing by actually sounds like ocean waves.
  11. The ocean over the hill, JUST over the hill.
  12. Having time to make breakfast in the morning.
  13. Being able to say, "We have closet(s)." as opposed to "We have closet."
  14. Not needing to turn on any lights practically ALL day.
  15. Everything is green, except for the blooming bouganvilleas.
  16. Finding new rhythms  and routines.
  17. Deciding that we weren't going to eat at the same Mexican place until we've tried them all.
  18. Being in the same time zone as all our family.
  19. Weighing the too many options when figuring out where to go for a Saturday morning hike.
  20. Knowing this is just the beginning of a new life together.


sunrise, sunset

It was about day four that I realized the benefits of having windows on three sides of a properly sun oriented apartment building. I'm hoping that this means not only can we see the sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening, but also a low electricity bill of course.

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california love

Me: "Vineyards, BBQ tri-tip, California poppies!!! I think this is one of the best days of my life!"
He: "Well, you've been waiting 10 years for this day!"


box on wheels

What is takes to move across the country:

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it begins with an ending

After 4-1/2 years of settling in, we are leaving New York and our beloved Brooklyn behind to settle down. For the next couple weeks, we will rise with the sun and follow it across the sky, searching for where it finally meets the ocean along the California coast. A new beginning awaits us in more ways than one, but first we must say good-bye.

110403_cross country