Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend: Sunday

Porter Creek Vineyard
Originally uploaded by jessajune

We had a glorious long weekend. We got out of foggy, cold San Francisco and up into wine country for a day trip. We arrived around noon and grabbed some delicious sandwiches at Oakville Grocery before visiting Porter Creek (pictured above), C. Donatiello, and Nalle wineries (picking up a half wine barrel planter and some old grape vines for use in smoking along the way). The excuse for the trip was to pick up the Porter Creek wine club shipment. Contrary to what you might think from the photographs, we like the place because the wine is delightful, as well as the beautiful setting and the fact that they own a gorgeous Great Pyrenees (unfortunately, he was not out visiting that day). We had an especially good time at Nalle, where we had the senior winemaker all to ourselves for half an hour or so.

I've posted the rest of the day's pictures to my Flickr. More photos and the tale of Monday's longer-than-expected hike at China Camp to follow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Early Rising

It seems odd to be waking up regularly at 6am when one doesn't have to... and yet, that's what I've been doing all week. I suppose it's the light. It's certainly not the heat, which I was blaming at first - after our crazy weekend heat wave, weather has returned pretty much to normal spring: pleasantly warm during the day, chilly at night.

The temptation is to pull something over my head and go back to sleep, but I've been having such odd dreams it seems wiser to get up and start the day instead. At some point the bed late/rise early thing is going to catch up with me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

PSA: Making Up Emails

Public Service Announcement: When you use a fake email to create an account somewhere, you are running the risk that a) you'll forget your password and won't be able to retrieve it and b) that email exists already and the person who owns it might just try to create an account on the same site.

I just had a curious experience when I went to use an online service that I couldn't recall using before, only to find an account for my email already existed. Thinking maybe I'd signed up and forgotten, I requested a password reset, and then logged in and took a look at the profile. Hmmm, yeah, that isn't me.

Now I have access to someone else's profile, and without deliberate malice, I have changed their password so that they can't get back in to the account. The organization uses the email address as a gateway, and if the original creator tries to re-reset their password... the link will go to my email, and they won't be able to follow up.

So that leaves me wondering what I ought to do now. Change the profile info and proceed? Create a new profile with a different email address (not what I'd choose, I use this specific address for a lot of web services and I prefer to keep them all together)? Post a doofy picture and leave strange messages for this person's in-service contacts? At any rate, take a lesson from this unfortunate person, and if you don't want to be bothered with spam, create a separate email for service accounts and never bother to check it, rather than entering a random address and hoping for the best.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I tried quinoa (also see Wikipedia) for the first time this week - Mom got a vast bag at Costco and when I accidentally ran out of rice, I borrowed a little. (Thanks, Mom!) Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but is actually a seed, and it is a good vegetarian source of complete protein. According to the World's Healthiest Foods link above, it is good for migraine sufferers due to the high magnesium content, and has a host of other beneficial qualities.

I admit the reason I tried it was largely that the back of the package indicated it could be prepared in a regular rice cooker, and because I had Chinese leftovers and no rice. The results were good - once cooked, the grain has a couscous-like texture, and worked excellently as a sauce-medium, not infringing on the flavor of the rest of the food. I did rinse the seeds before cooking, as recommended on the package to reduce the bitter flavor, and the only bitterness I found was along the bottom of the cooker where some portion of the quinoa had become brown (my cooker goes straight from "cook" to "warm" and I did not retrieve it right away, which may be the cause). For the record, a friend has noted to me that he has skipped the rinsing step without finding a notable difference in flavor. (I suspect this is because packaged quinoa is rinsed or processed before selling.)

Today I finished the remainder on its own, with some olive oil and chili salt. By itself, I found it somewhat less enjoyable, if more healthy, than rice or couscous in the same preparation. I would and most likely will purchase some of my own in the future, but I will most likely reserve it for use as a healthier sauce-vehicle or perhaps cook it with something flavorful, such as curry.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Birthday and Knitting Update

It's been a busy week - I was off having a birthday! It was a lovely time, and I managed to stretch it out for a good long while, enjoying lots of good food, time with friends, and flowers.

In other news, I haven't talked much about my recent knitting. I've finished several things in the last month or so, but the most amusing by far is Kuba's bow tie. When I found the pattern for this on Ravelry, I KNEW my friend must have it. She dresses her cats in costumes anyway, so I relinquish any and all blame that might be associated with me for the making of such an object. I assure you, the look of death on his face at the moment was not directed at ME. (I was only the one holding the camera, as far as he knows.)

My cats are lucky that I value my unscratched skin enough that I shall not be following this up with another set of formalwear for them.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

International Year of Natural Fibers

Did YOU know 2009 was the International Year of Natural Fibers, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations?

Me either.

Hat tip to Green Planet Yarns.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day

In a family tradition started by my kindergarden teacher, we greet every May first with strawberries, preferably in the form of strawberry shortcake for breakfast. I don't know where she got the idea; if it was something her family did or if she just wanted an excuse to eat shortcake at 7am. Regardless, it's a fun tradition. I love knowing that out there somewhere, my sister is eating it too.

I paired it with some Earl Grey Lavender tea, out of my French cup that she found for me in her travels. I love this cup, and keep it out on display, save when I take it down to use for special occasions.