Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dark Was the Night

I'm a little obsessed with music. I'm not going to go as far as to say I'm like John Cusack in High Fidelity, where I'm so distracted by music that I lose sight of what's happening around me, but I do tend to form soundtracks for occasions and moments most normal people wouldn't really think of. Like a Driving Along the Ocean mix, or a Rain mix, or my Evening mix (it's very specific).

Music speaks to me, that's my point. I really listen hard; to the melody, the time measure, the instruments (did you notice that for such a great rock band, Keane uses no guitars?) Pandora is great for this type of obsessive music appreciation; I can hear a song I really like and create a station from it, and eventually I will start to create this genre of music with no name that is very personal. I learn about some really great artists and albums that way.

When I first heard Bon Iver, I thought, I've had this song in my head my whole life and this guy is singing it now. It didn't take long before I'd created a Bon Iver station on Pandora. It opened up a whole new can of worms: a little compilation album that has been all I've listened to for two weeks running. Dark Was the Night is an AIDS benefit album with some really innovative stuff.

On my first listen to the two-disc set, I fell in love with Hey Snow White by the New Pornographers. It became my battle cry every morning when I got to work:

Hey Snow White, It's gonna be all right, It's gonna be all right
Hey Snow White, It's gonna be all right, It's gonna be all right
How can you win some, how can you win some
How can you win some, how can you win some
When the company goes public
You've got to learn to love what you own

There are some amazing duets: The Dirty Projectors with David Lynch, Feist and Ben Gibbard (that's right, that was my head you heard exploding; trust me, they're even better than you imagined when they harmonize).

Anyway, check it out. I've waxed poetic long enough.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Scene: Hanging out, surfing the net.

HD: Have you ever thought the text in Firefox was too small?
Me: Uhhh...
HD: There's an add-on for that.
Me: Uh....
HD: Please use my add-ons! Be my add-on buddyyyyyy!


That was horrible. Don't ever let me title a blog post like that again. Seriously.

Day 2 of No Grocery Shopping: Leftover Dal Makhni! The best thing about this? I didn't have to make it!

HD made this Saturday night. I think. Might have been Friday. Who can remember these things? All I know is, Indian food is like Italian food in that it's even better left over. Dal is lentils, and this dish is basically stewed yellow lentils with spices (turmeric, garam masala, mustard seeds) and random vegetables we had in the freezer (green beans, sweet corn, pepper medley). Nom nom nom.

The little round tortilla-looking thing next to it is aloo paratha, which is also awesome. We buy them in packs of four at the Indian store. In Hindi, aloo means potato. Paratha are kind of like a tortilla, but they're layered, so they're extra decadent and carby. Especially when you mash up that potato and stuff it inside. And use that to eat the curry. Excellent cold weather food.

Anyway, since I am not the dal master, I can't post the recipe. People, that's what YouTube is for. Instead, I will share my Aunt Pam's recipe for banana bread, which I have enhanced a little with a secret ingredient.

Aunt Pam's Banana Bread

1 cup sugar (I use natural cane sugar, which isn't as sweet as refined sugar)

½ cup oil (I used olive oil because I didn't have canola oil. Totally worked)

2 eggs, beaten (I only had 1 egg, so I used 1/4 cup of applesauce. Again, totally worked)

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3 ripe bananas, crushed (I used 4, for no reason other than I had 4 bananas)

½ cup nuts (I usually use chocolate chips instead of nuts, because that is awesome)

2 tsp vanilla (I used Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean paste)

1 heaping tsp. instant espresso (This is my secret ingredient)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix in that order
3. Pour in loaf pan
4. Bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, until a knife comes out clean


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Making Something from Nothing

Why is it that my kitchen cupboards are so full that I have to buy organizers so that I can stuff more in, yet I'm at the grocery store what seems like every other day?

That convenience food... man, I'll tell you. Trader Joes may be inexpensive and convenient, but they are chock full of crap you never knew you needed. Like simmer sauces (all of which are delicious, don't get me wrong) and instant pudding. Don't get me started on that instant pudding.

HD and I were out shopping for clothes most of the day (there are some deals to be had at Banana Republic, The Gap, and Anthropologie if you need some season-ending goodies; we really made out). We were really tired afterward. I had been thinking all morning that we would get to Trader Joes for the week's shopping, but the thought of it was making me want to pass out from exhaustion.

"Hey, wanna see if we can go the whole week without going to the store?" I asked.
"Uh, yeah..." he said, never one to argue with frugality or avoiding Bay St.

As a little backstory, we haven't eaten out once this weekend. This is not a minor feat; we at least eat breakfast or lunch out each Saturday and Sunday. But this weekend we've been good:
  • Grilled cheese and hashbrown sandwiches for lunch yesterday
  • HD made yellow daal and rice for dinner last night (I highly recommend scoring a live-in Indian man who can cook)
  • I've been saving up overripe bananas in the freezer for weeks now, and finally had enough to make a banana bread last night, which we had warm for dessert with ice cream
  • This morning I was starving, but I'd used the last egg in the house for the banana bread. I woke up and walked to the store for eggs and a honeydew melon while HD fried up some potatoes and onions. Scrambled eggs with peppers and toast made for the perfect Sunday breakfast
So we've been on a roll; it wasn't too difficult to picture creating more "something out of nothing".

Tonight's dinner, made entirely of ingredients we already had:

Sweet Corn Quiche

The quiche is a forgiving dish; use egg substitute if you have it, use heavy cream instead of milk, use smoked gouda instead of parmesan, whatever. These proportions of the base - eggs, milk, cheese, flour, and salt - all work great for me, but sometimes I only have 3/4 cups of milk left, or I only have 1/2 cup of cheese. Trust me, the quiche does not care.

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 cup finely grated Irish parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 9-inch pie crust (I know how to make them from scratch but I just didn't, so leamme alone)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Unroll the pie crust and put into a pie dish. Pinch the edges the way grandma taught you.
  2. Whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, corn, and flour, and salt in a bowl. It's easier to do it in that order, but do it all at once. Who cares.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust and put it in the oven for 15 minutes, and then bring the temp down to 350 and continue baking for 15 or so minutes, or until the center is puffy and set (my oven took 20 minutes, but my old oven took 15).
  4. Take the quiche out of the oven. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, or until the annoying Indian starts grazing in the fridge for snacks, asking, "Is this still good? How about this? Why don't you throw it away then, Babeeeeee?"
  5. Serve with a little sour cream and Cholula hot sauce (Tabasco has been verboten in this house for a couple of years now; long live the wooden cap! And Pepcid!) if you so desire.
I'll let you know how the Week of No Groceries comes along.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009


Isn't that one of the signs of the apocalypse?
It is, Matthew 11:2....straight from the scriptures!
"So a hot girl, a douchebag, and an impeached governor walk into a bar..."
I can't WAIT to watch this show!
I don't know what the rest of the joke is, but the punchline is going to be "Hey, where's my comb?"

Note: I won't be watching this show, as I have principles, and I could get the same effect hanging out in a bar in SOMA.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

There's no beating... deeeeep cleeeeaning.

HD is in San Jose helping a friend move (a friend I'm hoping will return the favor in a couple of months). He woke up early to head down there yesterday morning, and after I drank a pot of coffee, I got the wild idea to clean the cabin.

I feel like I'm sitting in a staged photo shoot right now for Elle Decor.

"Here's Sheri at home in her Girl-Scout-cabin-cum-pied-a-terre, enjoying a cup of coffee and composing a post for her cult* favorite blog."

I am really going to miss this place. I only moved in a year ago, and I've worked really hard to make it pretty and comfortable. I think I've pretty much succeeded. I wish I could keep it as a weekend retreat.

But, moving to the City will be fun, too.

*That cult is pretty much exclusively her dad, her aunt, and her best friend. Sheri is known to exaggerate wildly when her entire nutritional intake for the day thus far is coffee. She also starts writing in the third person.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Scene: Last night, driving back from dinner in Point Reyes Station. HD is telling me about his upcoming trip to visit his brother on the East Coast.

HD: So my brother asked me, um... <LONG AWKWARD PAUSE> ... what time I'm getting in on Friday.
Me: Uh, what did he really ask you?
HD: Nothing.
Me: He did not ask you when you're getting in on Friday, so out with it.
HD: Well, he asked me if I'm bringing my new camera, but I didn't think you'd be interested in that.
Me: Let me tell you, that's way more interesting than what time you're getting in on Friday.
HD: Touche.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just south of Nonsense and east of WTF

Scene: It's after lunch, and I'm reassigning some defects to my friend Britt. We're discussing the matter over IM.

Britt: I actually knew you meant defects, I was playing dumb
Britt: I'm good at that
Britt: If I may toot my own horn
Me: I'm confused why you would play dumb about something like that, but who am I to judge? We must get our jollies where we can.
Me: In these turbulent economic times.
Britt: EXACTLY. Turbulent
Me: Tempestual, even.
Britt: Turbulencia
Me: I went there for Spring Break my sophomore year of college.
Me: Good times.
Britt: What did it smell like?
Me: Napalm, predominantly.
Me: And shame.
Britt: I love the smell of napalm and shame in the morning.
Me: The two are pretty much synonymous.
Britt: Agent orange and shame
Me: One begat the other.
Britt: The chicken or the egg?
Me: The world may never know.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Just can't get enough

I got an iTunes gift card for Christmas from my aunt and uncle. It was a much-needed drink after a long musical drought. Here's what I've been listening to lately.

Cat Power - Dark End of the Street [EP]

I started to appreciate Cat Power after her cover of Sea of Love for the Juno soundtrack. Her latest EP is 6 more covers, all of which just make me want to put on a black feather boa, turn the lights down, and lipsynch into my round hairbrush. The only bad thing about this album is that it's only 6 tracks.

Mates of State - Rearrange Us

You'll find that I usually discover music after listening to it overhead in a store, or on an episode of Grey's Anatomy, or in a Target commercial. This discovery was slightly more highbrow - my major discovery of Mates of State was during a fantastic episode of This American Life (they were the musical accompaniment to the episode What I Learned from Television; their cover of the theme to the television show The OC was amazing). I've found that I can listen to this whole album happily while on a walk; most of the tracks keep my step up so that my heart rate stays at an acceptable aerobic level. The voices are really raw and crisp, they remind me a lot of Tegan and Sara.

Joshua Radin - Simple Times

I've loved Joshua Radin for a few years now, I don't know how I discovered him. Probably a TV show. This is his latest album, and it's a little more upbeat than some of his other stuff (like Vegetable Car - such a happy, different song; any guy who thinks "Lisa Loeb glasses" are sexy is alright in my book). If you like Joshua Radin, give Joe Purdy a try.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

I'm obsessed with this one. I just clicked on it on iTunes one day a couple of weeks ago, and I haven't stopped listening since. This is pretty haunting music that at first listen might sound very melancholy from start to finish, but my very picky and sophisticated music categorizing system has Tracks 2 and 3 (Lump Sum and Skinny Love) in a different category from the rest of the album. They're slightly more upbeat. Apparently, the artist holed himself up in a cabin in Wisconsin for a few months to write this album. I would love to know where his mind went during that time, because these tracks seem so personal.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


We're having an Inaugural Potluck at work tomorrow (my instigation). I'm bringing quiches.

HD got a new camera, so he was playing with it while I cooked. Here are a couple of shots. I'll post the recipe tomorrow, if I find out it turned out well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gratuitous hiking shots

So, my group at work has an annual summit to discuss what we're going to work on in the coming year. We brainstorm, we laugh, we get to see a couple of our remote employees who work at home in other timezones, we compliment the size of each others' dictionaries. It's a geeky good time. I look forward to it every year.

Well, we do this summit for 3 days, with the 3rd day set aside for an "offsite", which is just a teambuilding day. In the past we've taken a cooking class, taken a merlot blending course in the wine caves at Rutherford Hill, and had a generally drunken hilarious time playing Hyperbowl in the arcade at the Metreon (sadly, this great arcade has been replaced with I don't know what, but it sure ain't what it used to be).

Given the economic climate, we decided it might be a better idea to do some volunteer work and then have lunch together. I contacted the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and we're going to be doing some trail maintenance at Muir Woods, followed by lunch at a restaurant not yet determined because seriously, have you ever tried to get 13 people to agree on somewhere to eat a lunch they're not paying for?

Well. This is turning out to be a long story.

So, after I arranged that, I started clicking around on the GGNPC website. The page for Muir Woods listed another suggested place to hike that has redwoods and is nowhere near as congested as Muir Woods: the Phleger Estate in San Mateo County.

The Phleger Estate is in Woodside, actually, home of Neil Young and Steve Jobs. The house itself is still a private residence, so you can't go there. However, the woods around it are absolutely wildly beautiful. You enter the national park from a hiking trail in Huddart County Park, which is really cool as well.

Anyway, here are some shots from the iPhone.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New and Cold

The end of this week has been emotionally draining to monumental proportions*, so after work Thursday I drove to my favorite flower shop and had them make me a bouquet. Isn't it weird and pretty? I felt bad for the corkscrewy ones on the sides, so I told the florist I wanted them.

It is absolutely bloody freezing outside. Well, ok, it is freezing outside, but I don't want to get into a pissing match with North Dakota, so I'll downgrade that to "really cold". That's ice on the roofs of the houses and cars outside my living room windows. The steps are icy off the deck.

Anyway, I'll probably have more later.

*That article is a little sensationalistic; Carol Bartz wasn't "poached" by Yahoo!, she hasn't been our CEO for almost 2 years now. And I think she's only going to do good things over there.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year

December 6 was my last post? SRSLY? How sad.

My company gives us a "Week of Rest" between Christmas and New Years every year. Well, since that was a particularly well-positioned week this year, we got 2 weeks. Weeks of Rest, I've been calling it. I was barely home. I spent a week in Sacramento with the family, laughing and having a really great, relaxing time. I haven't been that relaxed back home in a long time. It was great. I just kept extending my stay, because really, what did I have to do here? Nothing, that's what.

I came home for about 36 hours to pack my things after Christmas, and then went back to see the Oregon contingent and then fly to Seattle to see my dear dear dear friend. What a great trip. Seattle is so beautiful. We went to a silly New Year's Eve party where the drink list was composed entirely of things mixed with champagne, went snowshoeing in the Cascades, played games, and just generally vegged out. It was great.

All in all, Weeks of Rest were so rejuvinating that I was downright excited to come back to work and see my peeps. I love my peeps.