Thursday, April 23, 2009

San Fran Fan!

The first in our "whirlwind weekends" series! Hubby was sent to NASA's Ames Research Center for work the week of April 13-17. Since the company was already footing the bill for his airfare and the hotel through Friday, I decided to buy a ticket and join him for a long weekend the 16-19. We spent Thursday evening and Friday morning in San Jose, California and then took the CalTrain up to San Francisco Friday evening through Sunday. Tied House brewpub in San Jose. A very nice hefeweisen to be had here! Pretty cool little brewpub. Completely different than most you see in Texas or Colorado. Ames Research Center. Hubby took me on-site at Ames to check out the wind tunnels.
Winchester Mystery House. This was definately one of my suggestions, but Hubby seemed to enjoy it as well.
The Winchester Mystery House
21st Amendment Brewpub in San Francisco. Arguable the BEST hefeweisen I've ever had in my life. Hubby and I stopped in here on our trolley-car way to a San Francisco Giants game.
Hubby getting all artsy-fartsy with his beer pics. ;-)
The Bay Bridge
AT&T Park - home of the San Francisco Giants
Baseball fans. :-)
Ghiradelli square early Saturday morning. They had a special: buy a chocolate filled croisant, get a free coffee. YUM! I LOVE San Francisco!

Cable cars are ridiculously cute! I think they signified San Francisco more to me than the Golden Gate bridge! LOVE me some cable cars!
Lombard Street - "the crookedest street in the world"
Lombard Street
While we were walking through Chinatown, we noticed a large group of people in one of the alleyways. They were having a "Art in the Alley" festival complete with a parade. We got some delicious egg rolls from a street vender and watched the "dragons" pass us by.
San Francisco Brewing Company. This brewpub is set up in a turn-of-the-century bar in Little Italy. The bar was a masterpiece of wood carving. Loved the ambiance and the beer wasn't bad either!
Coit Tower - the view from the top was awesome. The ride up in the old fashioned, operator-controlled lift was a little claustrophobic and hectic...especially with the piped in music playing "Free Falling" by Tom Petty. :-)
Alcatraz as seen from Coit Tower
We had planned to visit the Golden Gate Bridge Saturday afternoon, but while we were at Coit Tower, we could see the fog rolling in. And BOY was it rolling! A truly amazing site!
Hubby and I enjoying the best Irish Coffees either of us had ever had at Buena Vista in Ghiradelli Square Saturday night. I was doubtful about the "famous Irish coffee" at a place with a Spanish sounding name, but I can easily see how they got to be famous. I do not like whiskey and these things were GOOD! The highlight of the trip for me? Other than just getting away with Hubby for a quick weekend, I would have to say the SEA LIONS!!!! We made it over to Pier 39 to check out the wild sea lions that congregate there. I could've stood there for hours!
Yup! I'm a nerd!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Garden Update w/o Pics - SORRY

I was looking through previous posts earlier today and realized I hadn't made a garden update in a while. WOE IS ME!!! Unfortunately, I didn't get home in time to get any pics tonight, but I'll give you the details anyhow. :-)

What's doing well:

The TOMATOES! Good grief! They have taken on a life of their own (oh wait...they're plants, they actually DO have a life of their own...)! All plants are covered in little green tomatoes AND little yellow flowers. I expect to be swimming in tomatoes before long. Which is A-OK with me! Can't wait to make spaghetti sauce and perfect my salsa recipe.

Speaking of salsa - the cilantro is totally out of control right now. I had to go out earlier and grab a handful to give to our friend Phil (champion salsa maker). It's getting so big and bushy that it's threatening to kill things near it. Kind of like Phil's goatee. :-D SHAVE ALREADY! FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!!!!! ;-)

Also doing well are the cabbages. I have three heads of cabbage coming along nicely right now. Another two to three weeks and there will be sauerkraut!! YES! yum yum yum

All told, Hubby and I planted something like 40 strawberries. Some of them are doing fantastic (we even have a few flowers already!), and some of them never really got started. As long as I get at least 10 strawberries this year, I'll be pleased. I've been taking note on what they seem to like and will remember my lessons for next year's garden.

OMG! How could I forget my #1 producer?! LETTUCE!!! and Spinach! Salads have become a daily affair around here. All 5 varieties of lettuce have done exceedingly well. We've even had to "go country" and give away Romaine. In fact, if you want any Romaine or spinach and you have a salad spinner (gotta clean it folks!), let me know and I'll bring you some.

The green beans and wax beans are also growing like crazy. All the plants ended up coming up and now they are starting to flower. The plants have gotten very busy and are currently threatening the cucumbers that are next to them. I will be outside this weekend trying to device some contraption to keep them from shading the cukes too badly.

Radishes are always a success for me. It's funny - I'm not really a radish fan, but I know they are good for me so I plant them. I can only make myself eat them in salads or sauteed with butter and poured over asparagus though. :-)

All the onions are doing famously. They've had to get their "hair" cut several times as they tend to mooch sunlight from everyone around them. I'm a big green onion fan, so I've been chopping it up and throwing it into different recipes. I make a good green onion. :-) Hubby assures me that we are still months away from actually getting a full size onion though. *sigh* We use a LOT of onions around here. I'm thinking of putting more in the ground as soon as the cabbages are harvested...

We've also got our first jalapeno of the season growing right now. It's still pretty small, but it's also pretty early in the season. Hubby normally has a jalapeno-green finger, so I'm not worried about it. I'm sure we'll get more than our money's worth.

Broccoli has also been a huge success. We've gotten 4 heads of broccoli so far and still have one or two plants in the ground. I'm actually getting a little sick of broccoli. :-)

What's not doing as well:

As mentioned before, the beans are overshadowing the cucumbers a little. They're doing really well for plants that aren't getting a lot of sun right now. We also had a problem with the backyard rat eating the seedlings every time they got about 3 inches tall. Right now, we've got 5 plants going and two of them are getting to be 6 or 7 inches tall. We've got a long way to go with these guys, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed. I've found 3 pickle recipes that I want to try, so these guys HAVE to work out for me!

The snowpeas got off to a REALLY slow start. I think our seeds were old, cuz we had to've put a hundred in the ground before we got 8 plants. So far, all the seedlings are doing really well and taking to their trellis, but I'm not sure how many snowpeas we'll get as it's going to be getting hot pretty soon here in Texas. Snowpeas generally speaking don't like heat...

I FINALLY got a carrot to grow. That's right! Out of the 16 planted, ONE is growing! I'm just carrot-cursed, I guess, which is actually fine as I feel the same way about carrots as I do toward radishes.

What's doing fine, but isn't enough to write home about:

The bell peppers seem to me like they're getting off kind of slow, but Hubby doesn't seem too worried about them and he's the Pepper Man. I'm taking a wait and see approach.

The corn plants are about 10 inches to a foot right now. We are a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way away from sweet corn!

And last but not least, Hubby's horseradish JUST broke ground over the weekend. The thing was planted in February! Talk about a slow developer!

The basil, chives and flat-leaf parsley are also taking their time (hahaha! So should've spelled that "thyme"). They're all cute little plants, but a long way from harvest unless they start growing like maniacs soon.

So! That's your garden update for today. I promise to get out in the garden this weekend with Hubby's fancy-shmancy camera and take some pics for ya. I still can't get over how cool it is to eat out of the backyard. For all of you considering it or asking for advice, GO FOR IT! It's so rewarding! oh! And make sure you buy a salad spinner!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Poor, Poor Precious Princess Pooh

I think I've mentioned before that Abbey is our vet-lover. With one thing and another, it seems she is ALWAYS at the vet and we joke with him that it's because she has a crush on him in particular.

Abbey is prone to sebaceous cysts. She has had one on her rump for 3.5 years that the vet has been supremely unconcerned with. This last year, we also noticed four others, though they were much smaller than the one on her hiney. We've asked numerous times about having them removed and always gotten the same response: "It doesn't seem to bother her and they're usually not worth putting the dog under anaesthesia to remove them. Unless they burst..."

...yeah....unless they burst. :-)

The last time we went to see our vet, we brought up the cysts again and I guess he was tired of hearing about them since he consented to doing surgery to remove them. The surgery date was set for Friday, April 10.

Guess what happened Sunday, April 5? :-) I'll give you a hint!!!! *pop*

Since it was a Sunday, Dr Larry was not available, so Hubby and I had to improvise. We flushed the area with hydrogen peroxide and put guaze on her wound and then realized we didn't have any Ace bandages, so we tore up a t-shirt and tied that around her to get her through the night. Abbey sporting her t-shirt bandage look

First thing Monday morning, Abbey got to do what she loves most - go see Dr Larry! I guess it was a slow day at the office and he realized that, now that one had burst, we were going to bug him something silly until the rest came off. I got a call at 2ish saying that Abbey had gotten through surgery just fine and would be ready to come home in a little bit.

Our beautiful golden now has four bald spots and stitches everywhere. The vet tech said she looked like "Franken-doggie." I couldn't agree more. :-( But at least now they've been removed and hopefully we can go a little while before heading back up to Marina Bay Animal Hospital to see Dr. Larry. Don't tell Abbey that though!