18 March 2009

Cuisinart, dissected.

Our cuisinart is of a particular vintage, probably several decades old (its heavier than any other one I've ever handled) and doesn't have any switches or pulse-levers like newer models do. Rather, it starts whenever the components are locked in. More recently, it starts up whenever the bowl is locked in, regardless of where exactly the lid happens to be.

You can imagine this being a bit of a problem, particularly in the case of making something with flour like pie crust, say. Or something wetter like hummus. The potential for mess and danger is really infinite. So, we unscrewed the motor and took a look under the hood. I'd never speculated over what the guts of a Cuisinart might look like but here you are:

Curiosity answered. We fixed it right up with some oil on the internal switch and for now, its working like a charm.

17 March 2009

How-To-Do-It Encyclopedia

I picked this set up from an estate sale this weekend. It's only A-D of the set (which apparently includes almost 20 books) by Mechanix of how to do almost anything. The illustrations are amazing, monochromatic usually and a mixture of drawings and diagrams, with very dated photographs interspersed. This edition is from 1961.

14 March 2009

Gardening Updates

Friday seems to be my gardening day lately. As a person who can't exactly claim any rights to a weekend, per se, as I currently don't work any regular job...I think its funny that somehow on this day I always have lots of energy for digging and planting, but there you have it. I planted all my in-ground starting seeds and all my starters in one day, removed several sizeable roots and transplanted several inedibles into a newly designated flower bed. The seedlings are coming along, but man. Slow-ly.

My gardening gloves have been getting a workout and they got a little soggy so I hung them up to dry out. I love how their soiled fingertips up the contrast in the photo.

The bright red dusting you see in the last photo is cayenne pepper, purchased in bulk, to deter the neighborhood cats from burying their turds in with my seeds. While I know manure makes an excellent fertilizer, I'm not quite ready to bow to that biological cycle and just deal with it. Gardening shouldn't be smelly, I happen to think.

12 March 2009


Well I had a busy Wednesday evening! Very unlike me, to go across the bridge to San Francisco and stay there for 12 hours, but there were two things happening last night that I just couldn't possibly pass up. The first was the book signing event for my favorite blogger, Molly, who's first book just came out. The latter I've already documented over there, the film screening for the new documentary by Faythe Levine called Handmade Nation. I went to both by myself and it was nice to do two things for myself that I knew I would really enjoy. I got to savor best them that way.

Molly's book looks to be everything her blog is. Though a Bon Appetit subscriber, I'll admit I don't always flock to her column there the way I've looked to her blog. I think it might be the glossy pages and how they seem unsuited to her particularly personal way of writing. But the book and its delightfully matte contents seem already very promising. I haven't started reading it myself yet because I know I will tear up a little (heck, I did it at the reading!), and I couldn't risk it on the solitary train ride home. I plan on fitting it into today's afternoon for sure.

It was fascinating to see all the different kinds of people who read her blog together in one room. In some ways, I imagined many of them to be like me--young, writing-inclined, food obsessed--people who began reading the account of her romantic Seattle life from the chairs of an office. Now, after her picturesque wedding and love-affair with photography, I expected to see other such devout, idolizing fans as myself in line at Book Passage. But instead, it was quite the diverse and calmly admiring type of crowd. Older and younger, moms and gradmoms, and men! I was so surprised. In a nice way.

She introduced herself and the book comfortably and fluidly, without the use of notes and with even a few tears. Though blamed on the presence of family, I found this turn of events rather comforting since her writing often makes me feel unduly emotional. For some reason knowing that the person who often incites my tears is also a crier makes me feel less wimpy. Reasonable? She then read her first chapter about potato salad, and it was perfect.

She also graciously let me capture her amazing shoes which she said she'd gotten for the occasion. What perfect book shoes! If ever I am so lucky to have a book, I also pray for such wonderful heels to wear upon my feet.

11 March 2009


As in, bundle of sticks! Isn't this one model-esque? We were making plant markers from old things in Miriam's old garage. They're tied together with one of those cords that keeps your glasses hanging safely around your neck, which we found on the ground in that old garage. Inexplicably, it made a very picturesque bundler. And this is me transporting them home atop my newly fashioned front rack (thanks to kurt!) which makes me unstoppable when it comes to hauling.

**those are shasta daisies on the back end that someone at the Temescal Community Garden was getting rid of. Quite the load.

10 March 2009


We spotted these old cannisters on a big exploration mission on Sunday. We biked up to Point Richmond for the first time which was fun and I only noticed these on our way back through the industrial stretch of our route. They're the kind for storing gases like helium and they had such good colors that I wanted to document. Old carnival waste maybe? Or evidence of birthday parties past? I can't imagine what else these are for, and even though the place housing them seemed abandoned they manage to muster some romance, don't you think?

09 March 2009

Cupcake For Your Troubles

Turning in job applications for food places & retail spaces, I often feel pressure to purchase something while handing off a resume as a matter of course. The times I haven't done this, I feel like I may as well drop the crisply printed copy of my sum experience into the trash can instead.

On Thursday I went to apply at Love At First Bite, a small cupcakery in Berkeley and following my usual regimen, ordered a coconut cupcake while applying for their recently posted counter position. To my pleasant surprise, Pat (the bakery's owner & very nice lady) offered me a complimentary cupcake in exchange for my application. As by now I've learned, this is not customary in other such places and I so appreciated her respectful gesture, a subtle nod to my lack of income, that I tipped her a dollar. The little exchange put me in a lovely mood the rest of the day.

By the way, that 80's-issue athletic themed Pee-Chee folder is my new resume holster and I rather like it...

**EEK! Not five minutes after posting, Pat called me for an interview....EEK!

06 March 2009

Representing Places

LOVE THESE geographic sorts of pieces. Especially the St. Petersburg one, which is a unique, geographically accurate map of Russia's literary capital, created entirely from quotes by Russian authors writing about St. Petersburg. It would look lovely in any room of any house.

"The Literary St. Petersburg" Illustration by Vera Evstafieva and Andrew Biliter, 2009.

"The Fifty United States and their Mottos" Emily Wick, 2008

05 March 2009


This week Miriam (with a tiny amount of help from me) started our collective seeds. We ordered a bundle from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds and they arrived last Friday in adorable little illustrated envelopes. They're incubating right now in little containers of soil as I type this. Among them, carrots, chard, beets, purple cayenne peppers, black heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, herbs and several types of lettuce.

Pretty terrible pictures though! Sorry!

As I tend to go on and on about the garden once things are growing, this is fair warning that you'll probably get lots and lots of updates as things begin to sprout. We're trying all manners of vegetable this year, so I'm pretty optimistic something will really flourish. We've already dug up half our backyard in preparation, and I'd say spring is well underway at our house for sure.

04 March 2009

A Burger, By Every Name

A Present! From Bert for the movies! We waited to eat these til we could SEE them in the lamplight of our living room, but they were tasty little chocolate filled cookies with tiny sesame seeds on top.

My goodness.