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Once upon a time in San Francisco

October 30, 2014

Harbor

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The Regan / Brooks family took a trip to the West coast in early August. Technically three of us took a trip there to visit baby brother (remember, he moved) in the land of Tesla’s, composting, and good wine. We spent time in the San Francisco, Monterey Bay and a bit north of the city near Point Reyes National Seashore.

First up, All The Photos! Links to places we stayed and food we ate at the bottom.

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^^ Point Reyes National Seashore is beautiful!

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Houses

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^^ John Muir National Historic Site (these are sequoias, not redwoods… but still tall and amazing!).

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^^ #hipsters

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PebbleBeach

^^ Pebble Beach! I recommend the 17 mile drive.

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The entire trip was fantastic! My only regret is that we didn’t eat at In ‘n Out. Bah! In the city we Stayed at the Good Hotel – it’s a budget and eco friendly hotel with A PHOTO BOOTH in the lobby. We had a flight of beer at Cellarmaker Brewing Company; I recommend the Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes stout!

In Sonoma we rented bikes from here and biked to several wineries. Our goal was five… we made it to four: Gundlach Bundschu, Ravens Wood, and two others that are escaping me…

We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which was fabulous and is home to penguins!  I don’t have any photos for fear of dropping my camera in water but one of my favorite activities was paddle boarding in Monterey Bay. Tim kayaked alongside and we saw tons of seals! I was slightly concerned one was going to attempt to board my craft but they didn’t…..

We ate a lot of good food that I’m forgetting and near the seashore and bay we stayed in really great VRBO homes. San Francisco and the surrounding area was fabulous, sunny, and really eco-friendly. Haha. I’ll be back!

Over and out!

HE’S ESCAPED.

October 23, 2014

Vent

Arnold is out. As in, he’s in the house. He found his point of entry. Or rather, he not so much as found it since we last spoke as he just chewed his way out.

It turns out Arnold probably wasn’t the rat that someone spotted outside the house… it seems he may have been in the vents for a while now.

Excerpts from a text message conversation (none of the below was said by me).

“We are in a race against time and and he (Arnold) knows it.”

“I just think this should be easy. We build an off ramp from the vent to the box.”

“I don’t think you should do that. It sounds like inviting it to hang out in your kitchen.”

“It’s an off ramp to death. Rats gotta go.”

You’ll notice in the photo above that a box of some sort was left below the vent to catch the rat but the off ramp hadn’t yet been constructed when he Houdini-ed his way out.

Fast forward to last night. Upon arriving at Arnold’s house I sat down and promptly saw a gray blur out of the corner of my eye. The sighting was confirmed by someone in the room with me. Lets just say that the next half hour included several sightings as Arnold scurried around the living room in which he was now enclosed (blockades had been erected in doorways). There was some standing on tables, some glove wearing and pole wielding, some squealing, and a firm belief that we could capture him under a plastic tub.

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Spoiler: we couldn’t capture him and he somehow eluded us again by scurrying beneath a radiator and apparating away Harry Potter style.

The hunt continues.

p.s. Turns out he may be more the size of gerbil than a kitten….

adventures with arnold

October 21, 2014

i have some friends* who have recently discovered a rat in their house. fortunately it hasn’t actually entered the living space yet as it can’t seem to find a point of entry (although a vent in the kitchen ceiling is looking promising). arnold, as he’s been affectionately named, has duped pest control by finding a way in around the steel wool shield… he’s also performed what we can only imagine to be acrobatic feats that are helping him steer clear of the rat traps waiting for him in the vent space.

there was some excitement when arnold’s kitten sized body and beady little eyes were spotted in the flesh in the backyard on sunday evening.

scene: a basement kitchen
characters: tam, jose and of course, arnold

jose: you saw him out there! are you sure?
tam: yes!
jose: what’d he do?!
tam: he just popped out and was like dhfajdhfkjahkjfd(unintelligble words)! and then he scampered away. like, screw election season, i’m just gonna hunt rats.

jose: we should get a cat in here for a few days.
tam: cats eat rats? they eat mice! a cat couldn’t get up in here where we need it to.
jose: but if a cat was sitting here and the rat ran out it would totally scare it
tam: arnold’s smarter than a cat. can katie just procure a cat for a few days?

to be continued….

*name have been changed to protect identity. rats have friends you know

Crooked

October 17, 2014

Crooked

You guys. I readjust this desk to be level every week. And then somehow, whether caused by a faulty part or magic elves, it becomes crooked again. It’s very mysterious. Last time I even had a strong looking coworker do the tightening of the little do-hickey’s that supposedly keep things in place. No luck.

But then I realized that maybe it’s not the desk, it’s me (or at least the world telling me something). Have things felt a little crooked in your life too? No, just me. I blame it on too much traveling (for fun and work!) and maybe the changing of seasons and perhaps some grown up realizations…. I don’t know but I think it’s time to level this desk equilibrium and embrace this season of equal opportunity plaid wearing (Fall is not just for hipsters y’all!).

I think I’ll enjoy these last few days of iced coffees, drink (more) wine with my tribe of lady friends, and prepare for windows-open-while-sleeping-snuggling-season (extra points for plaid pajamas!). If this doesn’t level the world than maybe it’s just not worth being level…

Happy Friday!

The story of a flag

October 6, 2014

This is a story about patriotism…. sort of.

Somewhere along the way I may have mentioned that I have four roommates. One of our newest roommates moved in last December. We have a pretty stringent screening process to ensure we find housemates that are equally cool, clean, low key, and non serial killers. We like to find people that want to join the family, hang out with us and not hide in their room. So Nick (the roommate in which this story is about) moved in circa early December and because of holiday festivities there was no time to throw himself a housewarming party… which he had expressly said he was interested in doing during his interview with us.

After some delay he decided to throw one in February.

Nick determined that he wanted to commemorate this occasion and his legacy (ongoing that it is) by contributing something substantial to the homestead. He decided to buy the house an American flag.

Our house is over 100 years old and there are regulations for drilling into the ancient bricks and things like this. Thus, we needed to wait for our land lord and could not display the flag outside during the party. This wouldn’t have been possible anyway because Nick showed up fashionably late to his own party toting an outdoor sized American flag…. because obviously it was to be a surprise so we were unaware of his “gift” until party time.

As one does when one finds himself in possession of a large flag with no outdoor holding device, Nick propped it in our dining room and sort of wedged it behind the dining room couch and draped it over a wall hanging so as not to let it touch the ground. While waiting for people to arrive I told Nick he needed to take a photo with his new flag.

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There he is looking quite proud and happy with himself if I do say so.

As people started to trickle in, for no real reason other than a need for an ice breaker at the beginning of the party (you know the awkwardness), I jokingly made a few other people take photos in front of the flag. (Because that’s not awkward…) Turns out my friends, that this, was a slippery slope. Do you see where this is going? On accident, the flag photos became a thing…. As flag photos are wont to do (but are they?).

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Next thing we knew every person that arrived was asked to pose for a portrait in front of the flag. And it was a total group effort. People were yelling things like, “hey Katie, this guy needs to take his flag photo,” or, “grab a beer and then come pose for your America photo.”

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In true testament to Nick and his hilarious friends everyone just sort of accepted this as normal. Why of course I will pose in front of this American flag at this random 3 month late housewarming thank you so much. Or maybe there are flag pictures taken at lots of parties and I’m just terribly out of the loop?! Who can know.

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And kind of my favorite part of all of this is that out of all these photos I only know like ten people…. Of which three of those I live with, one I’m dating, and one was in town visiting (hi Michelle!). Which means that Nick has like a whole lotta weird / cool friends and they’re all appropriately patriotic (as in not too much and not too little).

Nicholas – so happy you moved in! I’ll unlock the door for you any day(!) (inexplicably he rings the doorbell like fifty percent of the time despite having a key and being a resident).

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the time in which we ate All The Seafood

October 2, 2014

Sometime last spring a few friends and I took a Sunday afternoon trip down to the Wharf. AKA, the Fish Wharf aka the Maine Avenue Seafood Market. My Wikipedia research just told me that the “Maine Avenue Fish Market stands as a cultural relic popular with locals but unknown to many of the tourists who flock to the monuments and museums just five blocks north.” Seeing as how I had no idea such a place existed until several weeks before this adventure I second whoever wrote this.

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It turns out the the Fish Wharf is one of the last remaining open air fish markets on the east coast. Ten plus stalls are arranged in a horseshoe and are technically floating barges. Upon entering, the scene feels satisfyingly “UN-DC.”

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This place is so cool. The market has been continuously open since 1805 (whoa) and fresh seafood arrives daily. It’s charmingly dilapidated with vendors yelling, the sound of fish being wrapped in crisp paper and the undeniably “fishy” smell that accompanies any such place.

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So as not to make any rash decisions we decided to take a lap and check out options and prices before purchasing anything. Some stalls were running sales but for the most part prices were similar from vendor to vendor.

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It’s been awhile now but I think we bought something like four pounds of mussels, three pounds of clams, a jar of oyster shooters, two dozen scallops and a bag of shrimp. Ultimately the seafood plus a few side salads plus some french bread fed 12 people for about $14 per person. And when I say fed I mean stuffed to the gills (I couldn’t resist) with seafood and butter.

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So we bought all the seafood and then came home and googled how to cook all the seafood. One of my roommates is from America’s hometown Plymouth, MA and he also had some pointers for those of us less familiar. Not a lot of seafood in Missouri… The most weird/exciting this I learned about was pulling out the beards of mussels prior to cooking. Mussels have beards!

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We sautéed the scallops, made a butter linguine situation with the clams and steamed/boiled the mussels in two different ways; one in a tomato based sauce with sausage and one in a butter based sauce with like, a lot of delicious Irish butter.

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We ate the oysters raw in shooters of course.

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This was such a fun night. From the fish market to the meal with some de-bearding and youtubing in between it was all hilarious and great.

There was a rumor that the fish market was closing due to a revitalization condo project but this article reports that it will stay open (although perhaps in a different form?). It would be damn shame if such a historic place that is the livelihood of so many people closes. And hopefully it doesn’t lose it’s slightly dilapidated charm. :)

Friends, lets do this again soon, yes?

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